Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

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By Dr. Rion Berg
August 13, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
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young woman walking barefoot on rocksWe all love summer. The warmth of the sun on our skin. The ease of looser clothing. The desire to let your toes breathe by going barefoot.

While I'm no different from you in loving that barefoot feeling, as a podiatrist I also know the hazards that come with this summertime activity. Too many of patients have suffered from foot injuries as a result of going shoeless.

Here are 5 hazards to consider when you think about going barefoot:

Thorns, Nails, Glass, and Hair Can Embed in Your Feet

Every summer I have to remove a fair share of thorns, nails, glass, and hair from people's feet. You may think folks are walking barefoot all over the place, but that's not true. Most are simply walking around their homes and their own backyards. Recently I removed a dog hair from a patient's foot, but I've also removed human hairs.

You may love the idea of gardening or mowing your lawn while barefoot. But rose thorns and mowers can wreak havoc on your feet. So make sure you don closed toed shoes particularly when cutting the grass.

Risk of A Heel Pain Flare-Up

If you're prone to plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis you shouldn't go barefoot, even in your own home. During the pandemic I've seen too many people with heel pain caused by barefoot walking and barefoot exercising while at home. Many people at risk for these heel pain conditions have flat feet or low arches. When you go barefoot the plantar fascia is more likely overstretch, which can cause a flare-up.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts, also called verrucas, are usually harmless but they can become painful. They are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) and enter the feet through small cuts and abrasions. Children are more likely to get warts than adults. To prevent your child from getting warts limit their barefoot wanderings as much as possible.

Fungal Foot and Toenail Infections

Fungus loves damp places. Pools, gyms, and locker rooms are among its favorite places to hang out. To reduce your chance of acquiring Athlete's foot or a toenail fungus infection, avoid going barefoot.

Avoid Going Barefoot If You're Diabetic

Many people with diabetes have a decreased ability to feel heat or pain through their feet. This means they're less likely to recognize when they've developed a cut or stepped on a hot surface, putting them at greater risk for infection. Infections can lead to ulcers and amputation. For this reason, people with diabetes should never go barefoot.

How to Reduce Your Risk

So you know you need to wear some form of footwear to avoid the risks just described. But which shoes are best?

You may be tempted to simply slip on a pair of flip flops. But first, you need to consider your activity. If you're planning a trip to the beach or pool, flip flops are ideal. But they're a terrible choice if you plan on doing any significant walking or other physical activity. Flip flops have no support and have provide little protection for your feet.

If you want a sandal that will give you that feeling of freedom but won't sacrifice support, choose the Vionic Wave Toe Sandal. is an excellent choice. I recommend these sandals to my patients who are recovering from heel pain. They are ideal for indoor use. If you want a shoe that will go the extra mile, go for a sandal with straps like a Teva, or a more enclosed shoe like a Keen.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
March 31, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

woman stretching on the groundNo one is immune to anxiety particularly in this unprecedented time. Thoughts about the safety of parents, grandparents, friends and yourself can mushroom, causing sleepless nights--further fueling anxiety. At a time when you want to preserve whatever reserves you have and shore up your immune system, increased stress does just the opposite. Learning to reduce your stress is essential.

But what can you do to help yourself and those around you cope more effectively? Turns out there’s plenty you can do to decrease your anxiety and stress levels.

Reduce Your TV and Social Media Time

Even in the best of times watching less of the 24-hour news cycle is best practice. And then of course there’s Facebook and Twitter. Nothing fuels your anxiety like picking up your phone every 30 minutes to check the stock market or the latest post or tweet about the virus. Start small. Start by cutting back the number of times you look at your phone by 10%. And then every few days cut back by another 10%. Also, make sure you don’t look at your TV or phone an hour before bedtime.

Practice Mindfulness

One of the best tools for reducing anxiety is practicing mindfulness. If you’ve been meaning to develop a mindfulness practice or learn to meditate there is no better time than now. Fortunately, there’s been an explosion of apps, CDs, and videos to help you do it more easily. One that my wife and I use at bedtime is Calm. This app contains many wonderful meditations and stories to help you calm down. Another easy-to-use app is Headspace which bills itself as a meditation and sleep tool. If breathing shallowly is your issue, try the Breathe+ app recommended by Dr. Brad Lichtenstein of Seattle at The Breath Space. Set it for four breathes in for every six breathes out.

Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

It’s not only your hands that need better hygiene right now. Good sleep depends on it. Sleep is problematic for many of us in times of high stress. Here are some important tips:

  • Maintain a consistent routine – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Avoid caffeine – it’s OK to have caffeine before noon. But avoid it after that. Keep in mind that chocolate and tea also contain a lot of caffeine. Sorry chocolate lovers!
  • Minimize alcohol intake – alcohol can contribute to sleep problems.
  • Go outside in the morning – to help with your circadian rhythm your body needs light. Not always easy in this cloudy part of the world. But even diffuse light is helpful. Go outside for at least 20 minutes.
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment – people sleep best in cool, dark, and quiet environments. Also, make your bed more inviting by changing your sheets regularly and putting out your best comforters and pillows.
  • Exercise – exercising at least 30 minutes a day can help improve sleep.
  • Reduce Your Exposure to Blue Light – according to the Sleep Foundation blue light from your phone and computer screen can delay the release of melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep. To help reduce the blue light from your devices, download an app like F.lux onto your computer and set your phone to dim automatically in the evening.

Get More Exercise

Meet a friend and walk, making sure you keep your social distance of six feet. Want to give your whole body a workout, trying Zooming a yoga class. Online classes are available at Two Dog Yoga here in Lake City or at 8 Limbs Yoga. If you’re a runner, just make sure you have supportive shoes. Check out “How to Buy the Best Running Shoes”.

Eat Well Balanced Meals

Although many of us resort to eating comfort foods during times of stress, try to balance that out with healthy meals. It’s fine to eat an occasional meal from Dicks if you’re healthy, but a steady diet of fat, sugar, and alcohol will not help your immune system function at its best. Stick to lots of fruit and vegetables, chicken, and fish. Crack open a cookbook or dive into recipes on the internet. Cooking from scratch is always healthier. Consider your local restaurants offering take-out. And not just pizza. Order from your local Vietnamese, Thai restaurants, or other familiar places that serve low fat food. Plus, it’s important to support your local businesses at this time.

Share Important Moments With Friends and Family (Yes, Over Zoom)

A friend just told me she participated in a Zoom birthday party. Someone else I know is reading books to his granddaughter over the internet. Some families are planning to do their Passover seders remotely. The possibilities are endless. Don’t have a gathering to attend? Set up a Zoom session with family or friends just to talk. This is particularly important if you live alone.

Revisit or Try and New Hobby

Recently I wrote a blog, "10 Fun Activities to Do At Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak". Spending time engrossed in activities that are creative and stimulating is much better than watching TV or playing endless video games on your computer. Revisit hobbies you’ve done in the past but haven’t had time for. Pick up your old guitar and belt out a few cherished tunes, finish your scrapbooking project, or pick up your knitting or needlepoint. All of these can bring satisfaction you forgot long ago. Or with the miracle of YouTube you can learn a new hobby. For those who know me, I love to sing. I recently stumbled across a fellow in England, Gareth Malone, who runs The Great British Home Chorus. It’s loads of fun!

And then there’s the professor teaching about The Science of Well Being through Yale. You can access this course for free online. Over 1 million people are enrolled.

Take Action

The best way to get out of your head and stop your anxious thoughts is by taking action. Whether that’s sewing masks for your local hospital. Calling friends who are isolated to check on them. Or taking groceries to your neighbors who are shut in. Any of these activities is good for your head and your heart.

Practice Gratitude

Yes, the stock market is down by 1/3 and you may have had your work hours cut. But there is also a lot to be grateful for. Developing a gratitude practice is the first in a list of strategies named by author Sonja Lyubormirsky who wrote the groundbreaking book, The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want. She says, “Expressing gratefulness during personal adversity like loss or chronic illness, as hard as that might be, can help you adjust, move on, and perhaps begin anew.”

Finding the silver lining in this crisis is important. I’m in awe of all the wonderful things people are doing to help others.

Stay safe!

Having pain in your feet? If you're reading this during the coronavirus outbreak, leave a message at 206-368-7000 and we'll retrun your call and set up a telemedicine appointment.

Otherwise call us today at the same number for an in person appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than two weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain."

 

 

man wearing snorkelAs we hunker down during this time to avoid getting exposed to COVID-19 it's time to figure out how to stay engaged and entertained at home. Yes, you can always stream videos on Amazon, Netflix, or Hulu or rent videos from your local video store in Seattle's northend (Reckless Video and Scarecrow Video). But after awhile, it sure would be nice to do something other than watch the boob tube.

After culling the internet and recalling from my childhood some of the things I used to do with my family and friends to have fun, I've come up with the following top 10 ideas.

Idea One - Board Games

Board games, board games, and did I mention board games! One of my old time favorites is Monopoly. "Do not pass go, do not collect $200." But I also love a great game of Scrabble and now there's Bananagrams for a fast paced word game, Boggle, and many others.

Some other great options are Pictionary, Cranium (invented by a Seattleite), Sequence, Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza.

Idea Two - Plays

Much to the chagrin of some of my family members I love to act goofy. Note the photo of me in this blog. And what better way to display my goofiness then to put on a play with my family members. Of course I would play the wackiest role and let the others play the straight men. Using a flip chart or just a big piece of paper tacked to the wall, brainstorm ideas about possible characters and situations. Gather up props from around the house. Get your phone ready to record for a hilarious play back and then let the creative juices fly!

Once you're done, post the video on Facebook.

Idea Three - Table Topics

I got this idea from Toastmasters, the public speaking organization. Table topics are 1-2 minute speeches given extemporaneously and are often based on a particular theme. One person is the table topics master and everyone else gets the chance to speak when called on. The table topics master comes up with questions geared for the audience. For ideas about questions, check out 365 table topic questions.

Idea Four - Cooking Show

Does your family love to cook? Why not pretend you have your own cooking show and film it. Get everyone involved from kids to adults. You can even challenge another family to do the same, then upload your shows on Facebook and see which one gets the most Likes.

Idea Five- Music Night and Karaoke

Many of you know I love to sing and play my guitar. Michele plays the harp. We had a grand old time on our recent trip to the San Juan's playing together. Even if you don't play an instrument, you can always karaoke using Playstation or your Wii.  Break out your best or worst singing voice.

Idea Six - Read A Great Book Aloud

You may not have stocked up on books before the libraries closed but you can still download them from the Seattle Public Library and off of an app called Libby. Of course you can read alone for your own pleasure or read out loud with your family. So this is geared to the whole family try rereading one of the Harry Potter books or an oldie but goodie, The Hobbit. Pass the book around and get the whole family involved.

Idea Seven - Visit a Museum--Virtually

Now you can tour some of the best museums and artworks in the world virtually using the Google Arts and Culture site. Check out an up close and person view of Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night where you can actually see his brushstrokes. Or experience 360° videos to 3D printed sculpture to amazing historical sites. Visit Arjuna's Penance in Mahabalipuram in New Delhi, India to see the elephants and ancient peoples carved into a stone wall.

Idea Eight - Prepare Your Vegetable Garden Bed

Sugar or snap peas can be planted in your garden right now, but you can also prepare your soil for later spring and early summer planting. Here's how to do it according to Swanson's Nursery. After choosing a proper site that gets plenty of sun, add at least 2-3 inches of compost to your existing garden soil and dig it in down to 6 inches. If you are starting with a brand new raised bed, fill it with a mix of 75% potting soil and 25% compost. Add fertilizer before you start planting to give your vegetables the nutrition they require.

Idea Nine - Make a Collage

Do you have a bunch of old magazines lying around? If you do, you have most of the necessary ingredients for a making a collage. All you need is some poster board or large sheets of paper and some glue and you can go to town. Go through your magazines and pick out photos, words, or other items that you're drawn to. Raid your gift wrap box and pull out scraps of paper you may want to incorporate into your design. Torn scraps of paper can often look fantastic on a black background. Arrange them any way you like and glue down on your board.

Idea Ten - Have A Picnic in Your Living Room

It's too early for an outdoor picnic but it's not too early for an indoor one. Since it's a picnic, choose a menu based on what you would serve if it was a warm, sunny day in Seattle. Think potato salad, 3 bean salad, hamburgers, hotdogs, BBQ chicken, and ice cream. Or if you want go more gourmet, look up some recipes on line at Bon Appetit, Epicurious, or Allrecipes. Be sure to include a beautiful blanket for everyone to sit on. Enjoy!

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
February 04, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

woman holding heartWith Valentine's Day right around the corner you may be thinking it's time for a little pampering. After a long, cold, rainy winter a trip to Mexico or Hawaii may be on your list or maybe you just want to soak in a jacuzzi in a spa. Either way you probably have a pedicure in mind to help you feel beautiful and indulged.

But then you take off your socks, and there they are--staring you in the face—fungal toenails. You can still get a pedicure if you let the spa know in advance but wouldn't it be better to get rid of your ugly, fungal toenails once and for all.

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we do everything we can to ensure the best success once you decide to go for it.

Not really sure if your nails have fungus or are just black from running or some other trauma? Don't worry we'll get your toenails tested to be sure we're treating the real deal. After years of treating people with this difficult-to-treat condition we've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work. Although not all fungal toenails can be treated effectively, many can be.

Tantamount is finding a podiatrist who will treat your fungus in a comprehensive fashion. Once these buggers set up shop it's difficult to kill them because they not only lurk on top of your nails and skin but in your nail bed as well. Having the right tools to eliminate them is the first step.

Here at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we use a combination of the best treatments to get you the best results.

Laser Treatment

We've been treating patients with the PinPoint FootlaserTM since January 2013. Laser treatment is designed to penetrate your nail to attack the fungus where it hides. It takes only 30 minutes, is painless, and has no long term side effects. Laser has been a wonderful additional to the tools I was already using to kill fungus in nails. I've put together a list of Frequently Asked  Questions to respond to any concerns patients may have.

Keeping Down Your Fungal Load

In addition to laser, we provide two different topical treatments to keep the level of fungus on the nails and skin down making it easier to eliminate it.

Sterilizing Your Shoes

Before we begin laser sessions with a new patient, we provide a shoe sanitizer and ask them to sterilize all their shoes. After that patients sterilize their shoes at the end of the day when they remove them. Keeping shoes free of fungus also helps keep down the fungal load and prevent re-infection.

Oral Treatment

Some patients prefer to use oral medication to treat their fungal nails. Oral treatments are very effective but carry some risk of liver problems. Also, when oral medications are stopped there is a chance the fungus will return. We also use oral medications along with laser but we use a very short course to help boost the effects of the laser. A shorter course reduces the chance of liver side effects.

The best thing about getting your toenail fungus treated now is that you'll be well on your way to having beautiful nails this summer.

To learn more about how we treat fungal nails, visit our Seattle Fungal Toenail Center.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Dr. Berg interviewed Dr. Jason Brown at Sole Perfection Shoes in Seattle.

JB: I'm Jason Brown with Sole Perfection in Shoreline. We're here today to talk about new fall items.

DB: It's definitely no longer the weather for open toes and Oofos and flip flops and Birkenstocks. What are you suggesting for all of these people now this time of year?

JB: The biggest thing for fall is boots. What we look for of course is good arch support. For example this cute little boot here (Taos) is very trendy and kind of fun. It's got a zipper on the side to help with access but of course you always have to have good arch support (Jason removes arch from boot to demonstrate).

Boots are often known for being really hard to get into so what they'll often do is open up the back of the heel to have a little bit of slippage. Boots often have a little more play in the heel but as long as it's holding you and you're walking naturally you're OK. So whether it's a boot with a lower heel like this one or a nice tall boot (pulls a Dansko off the shelf) you want to be able to get into it and then stay in it.

DB: One of the issues I find that occurs as people move into the fall and they move into boots is the harder sole. What can you put inside the shoe or is part of the shoe itself to combat the tendency for overuse in the ball of the foot?

JB: It's a great question and it's a real problem. You're absolutely right, because a lot of boots are just leather (on the bottom) and they're very hard with very little cushion. We focus on shoes that have a removable foot bed, so if needed we can add extra cushion. (An example of a boot we carry) is Dansko which is waterproof and comes with.. "feel the cushion on that". It's way better than a lot of other boots.

As you're out there and you're trying to find good boots you do have to keep an eye out for that. They'll (boots will) look super cute and might even feel comfortable but do they have enough cushion? And if they don't can you add cushion? Because you're right I'm sure you see it a lot when the ball of people's feet just gets beat up or tender.

DB: Well this is nice because both of these styles which are two different brands have removable inserts which allow for either more shock absorbing over the counter support or if need be, prescriptive orthotics.

JB: Yes, we really specialize in that because it is important especially if you have orthotics you often feel restricted and all you can wear are tennis shoes. Maybe you want something a little more fashionable it can be hard. That's why we focus on that. Every single fall shoe we carry with the exception of a few has a removable foot bed.

I do want to show one that is kind of unique. The brand has been around for a long time.  Alegria. But this is a new sole, a new boot. It's slip resistant, non-marking and also has some good tread; maybe we'll get some snow. But the other thing that makes it a really, really special brand is the removable foot bed and look how cushioned that is (hands it over to Dr. Berg).

DB: Oh wow! That's amazing.

JB: Lots of cushions and it's replaceable. The first thing to wear out are usually the insoles. It just loses its cushion. Getting the exact same thing to go back into it (into the shoe) can be hard and next to impossible. So with this brand you can get the exact same foot bed.

DB: This also has quite a substantial outer sole and its shock absorbing. It's a rubber sole.

JB: And in order for a sole to say slip resistant on it, they have to get it tested. And so if it says it on the sole then you know it's been tested and you know it's going to be better than one that doesn't say it. There are a lot of boots out there and shoes that are slip resistant it's just that the company didn't want to pay the money to get it tested.

DB: I notice in the same brand (Alegria) we move down to walking shoes it looks like almost the same tread and it's slip resistant. I assume a similar insole.

JB: It's identical, yes. The new collection from them everything under the foot is the same as you'll get in that boot and they also scotch guard all their leather, so it's really great for the Northwest. In fact, talking about the Northwest I call them Northwest dog walking shoes. I want to highlight just a couple. There are shoes like this, a Dansko shoe (Paisley) that's great with blue jeans it's just a nice little kick around. It's slip resistant and look at this foot bed. It's got a great insole in there, a good arch. But the fact that it's completely waterproof, you can walk the dog and wet grass won't bother your feet. You can walk the neighborhood. It's just really great for the Northwest. We have a lot of shoes like that. Whether it's (like) this, or (something) a little more athletic. You want to feel good but you also want to look good.

There're a lot of good shoes out there for fall you just have to take the time to find the right one and get the right fit. And then of course if you have any foot problems or issues talk to the doctor (Dr. Rion Berg) and find the right solution.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.