Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

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Running shoesWhat a year we’ve had! Most of us are happy that 2020 is behind us and we’re looking forward to making 2021 one of our best.

For many of us that means losing weight we’ve gained after being stuck at home behind a desk and a Zoom camera. Perhaps you’ve vowed to take up running or you’ve decided to take it up after some time off.

Either way, running is great sport as long as you can do it safely. Here are my top 5 tips for preventing foot and ankle injuries when you run.

Buy Running Shoes To Match Your Foot Type and Running Style

If you’re just starting out, don’t resort to wearing any old pair of tennis shoes. Go to a reputable running store like Super Jock N Jill or Brooks and buy a running shoe. Running shoes are designed to support your feet when pounding the pavement. Regular tennis shoes won’t cut it.

If you used to be a runner and have an old pair laying around, make sure they aren’t worn out. Turn the shoes over and check out the treads. If you see uneven wear patterns, buy yourself a new pair.

Also, running shoes should match your particular foot type and running style. For more information about buying running shoes read my previous blog, “How to Buy Running Shoes”.

Build Up Your Training Slowly
Even if your best friend is pushing you to run your first race in three weeks, it’s more important for you to train and be ready before taking on your first challenge. You’re much more apt to injure yourself if your body and feet aren’t prepared. Talk to your physician before beginning any new training program. Runner’s World suggests running three days per week to give your body time to recover in between runs. Read their article “How to Run When Your Just Getting Started” to get more details.

Warm Up Before You Begin

Your body needs to warm up before you stress it to avoid injury.  Although many people warm-up by doing short wall stretches, you’ll get more benefit from your stretch when your muscles are warm. I highly recommend starting out with some  Dynamic Warm-ups for Runners . These warm-ups help increase the temperature of your muscles and elongate them. You’ll be much more ready to put your legs and feet through their paces, enhance your performance, and prevent injury.

Moisturize Your Feet

You wouldn’t think this would be at the top of my list, but moisturizing your feet is essential. If your feet are so dry they crack, you’ll soon be in plenty of pain when you run. Dry feet can also make you more prone to blisters. There are many options out there. Try one of the following: Gold Bond Ultimate Softening Foot Cream with Shea ButterCurel Foot Therapy, or Aveda Foot Relief. For more severe cracking, I’d recommend Gormel Cream. It contains 20% Urea, a sure-fire way to soften up and repair your feet.

Buy Socks That Wick Away Moisture

The right socks will help prevent blisters. Avoid cotton socks that retain moisture and instead choose brands that contain Merlino wool, nylon, acrylic, polypropylene, or polyethylene fibers. It may seem ironic that with one stroke of the pen I say to add moisture to your feet and the other stroke says to avoid it. But the truth is that while your feet need moisture to stay supple and avoiding cracking, too much moisture will lead to chafing and blisters.

Try one of these highly rated brands: Nike, Asics, Injiji, Belega, Swiftwick, and Feetures.

Other Safety Ideas

Also, because we’re in the middle of a pandemic and its winter there are a few other things you should consider before leaving your house.

  • Wear a mask. Yes, I know you’re outside. But if you’re going to be coming within six feet of anyone, it’s important to mask up.
  • Make sure you’re visible. Our dark, rainy afternoons and evenings can be a deadly combination for runners. Wear gear that is bright and neon colored. Purchase bright yellow, turquoise, and even white clothing at Brooks or Road Runner Sports. You should also consider purchasing a reflective vest, belt, lights or snap bands. These items are available at REI and other sports stores.

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 heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

For chronic heel pain, download our eBook, "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel 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.

 

Foot laying on it's sideAs an athlete you know you're prone to injury. You're familiar with many of the more common foot pain problems such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. But recently you've experienced pain on the outside of your foot where your little toe is.

Now you're wondering what that could possibly be.

As your Seattle podiatrist I'm here to let you know that every part of your foot is vulnerable to injury particular when you stress it--including the outside of your foot. It's important to curtail any sports activities until your foot is properly evaluated by a podiatrist to prevent any further injuries.

Pain on the outside of the foot can be a sign and symptom of the following conditions:

Stress fracture

Stress fractures are tiny, hairline cracks in the bone associated with overuse. If ignored, these cracks can turn into breaks so important to get them treated.

Cuboid syndrome

Cuboid syndrome occurs when the cuboid bone goes out of alignment with the heel bone. Pain increases when weight is placed on the arch or side of the foot.

Peroneal tendonitis

The Peroneal tendons are located on the outside of the ankle. When these tendons become inflamed (peroneal tendonitis) they may cause pain around the backside of the ankle, over the outside of the heel where they run under the bump in your heel bone.  

Jones fracture

Jones fracture is a fracture of the 5th metatarsal bone on the outside of the foot. It can occur through forceful impact to the outside of the foot, through overuse, or following an ankle sprain.

Sinus tarsi syndrome

The sinus tarsi is a small bony canal located just in front of the protruding side ankle bone. Injury to the sinus tarsi is caused by overuse or an ankle sprain. Symptoms often include:

  • Pain can be experienced on the side and the front of the ankle.
  • Pain can develop over time or follow a period of increased physical activity
  • Symptoms often worsen  when standing, walking, or running around a curve
  • This syndrome is often associated with flat feet.

Bunionette or Tailor's Bunion

A Tailor's bunion is located on the outside of the little toe. Just like a regular bunion it's caused by having faulty foot structure, such as flat feet.

Treatment for Pain On the Outside of the Foot

Treatment for this type of pain depends on the diagnosis, however, there are many commonalities.

  • RICE - rest, ice, compression, and elevation are always recommended for acute injuries.
  • Stop physical activity - many side of foot pain conditions are brought on as a result of participation in sports.  Ceasing these activities gives the foot time to heal.
  • Reduce inflammation - inflammation is always a concern with an injury. Reducing that inflammation is essential to start the healing process. Anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone shots and MLS laser therapy can both help in your recovery.
  • Foot immobilization - in addition to stopping your physical activity your podiatrist may also put your foot in a walking boot to give your injury a better chance of healing properly.
  • Special padding - in some cases specialized padding will assist in off-loading weight from the affected area such as the pad used to treat the Cuboid Syndrome.
  • Stretching tight calf muscles - tight calf muscles often play a big role in causing foot and ankle injuries. When the calf muscle is too tight the foot and ankle can't move properly. The stress gets transferred to areas of the foot that aren't designed to handle it. We recommend going beyond wall stretches for calf muscles. Instead we recommend using an Achilles splint during the day.
  • Custom orthotics - many people have poor foot mechanics.  This can lead to injuries particularly when someone is active in sports. Custom orthotics are designed to prevent the foot from pronating or supinating and are recommended when either of these problems are seen.
  • Appropriate footwear - wearing footwear designed for the sport the person engages in can help prevent side of foot injuries. A shoe with a wider toe box is recommended to accommodate the foot with certain conditions such as a Tailor's bunion.

If you're experiencing pain on the side of your foot, give us call at 206-368-7000 to set up an appointment or request an appointment online.

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
August 13, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

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.