Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

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By Dr. Rion Berg
March 24, 2020
Category: Heel pain
Tags: Untagged

woman walkingAh, spring is in the air. With the great weather and no gym to go to, many people are starting to walk. Walking is great for many reasons. But now it’s particularly important in helping reduce the stress we all feel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, people who walk at a moderate pace regularly have a lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

Perhaps you walk all the time and it’s no big deal to dive into your kicks and walk a 3-5 miles. But for people who’ve taken it easy all winter or participated in other forms of exercise, increased walking can cause problems with the feet, ankles, and back.

Conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis can flare up and low back pain can occur due to imbalances in the feet. Bunions and neuromas which have been silent all winter can become aggravated.

So how can you counter these problems?

Increase Distance Gradually

Your best friend might want to walk a 5K, but if you’ve been swimming or riding a bike as your main form of exercise, walking that far could be problematic. You’re best off increasing your distance gradually – experts suggest no more than 10% a week. Not sure where to start? Think about the farthest you walked last summer and then back off by 25% before increasing by 10%. Always ask your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Check Your Shoes for Wear and Buy New If Necessary

Your shoes are your best protection when it comes to cushioning your feet and preventing foot and ankle problems.

First, take your tennis shoes and flip them over. Is any part of your sole more worn down more than the others? If so, you need a new pair of shoes.

When you look for new shoes comfort and support are the two most important factors. How will you know? You can only tell by trying and testing. Since the pandemic is going full force you’ll likely only be able to order online. Zappos is an excellent choice because returns are so easy. Once you get your shoes, test them for support. Here’s my video for how to do that.

Add a Pair of Over-the-Counter Inserts

Many of us need more support than any built-in shoe insert will provide. That’s because a large percentage of us are either pronators (roll our feet inwards) or supinators (roll our feet outwards). An over-the-counter insert can help provide a little bit of support in this area. So go ahead and buy some. They’re relatively inexpensive and will last about 6 months with regular wear. I recommend Powersteps.

Get Your Orthotics Checked

You may already have a pair of orthotics if you have flat feet, pronate, or you’ve had plantar fasciitis. But when was the last time you had them checked? Although they should last 5-7 years that doesn’t mean they still work for you. It’s a good idea to have them checked annually, but particularly if your weight has changed, they feel a bit uncomfortable, or you notice uneven wear on your shoes.

Do Dynamic Warm-ups

A special kind of warm-up called "dynamic warm-ups" are great for getting your body ready to walk and prevent foot and ankle problems.  Make these warm-ups part of your daily walking ritual.

Try Yoga to Improve Foot and Ankle Strength and Flexibility

Want to help your feet and ankles even more? Check out these yoga exercises for your lower extremities. Yoga can also build awareness of how you’re walking. Currently our local Lake City yoga studio, Two Dog Yoga is offering classes on Zoom.

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

Otherwise Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an in person 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 FacebookTwitterand Pinterest.

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
March 10, 2020
Category: sports injuries
Tags: Untagged

different types of ahtletic shoesProfessional and amateur athletes spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars each year on shoes. Often shoe purchases are made based on promises from shoe companies that athletes will be able to run faster, jump higher, and have less foot pain because of extra cushioning, more revolutionary materials, or special qualities.

While some of these claims may be accurate they can't possibly be right for all of us. We each have a different foot type, different needs when it comes to our level and type of exercise, and different foot problems that require a range of solutions.

With injuries of the foot and ankle rampant among athletes it's important to buy a shoe that's ideal for the foot, level, and type of activity.

Here are some of the most common signs that the athletic shoes you're wearing are wrong for you:

Toenail loss or bruising
While toenail bruising and loss are common among athletes, wearing shoes that are too short will certainly accelerate the process. If you've lost a toenail or notice that your toenails have become black or purple it's time to get your feet measured.

Blisters
Blisters form when a shoe rubs continuously over a part of the foot. This occurs when shoes are either too tight or too loose. It's important to check the length and the width of the shoe to be sure it's the right size for you.

Plantar fasciitis
Because athletes often apply tremendous force to their feet during sports activities, they are at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, a related condition. Many factors combine to cause these foot problems, including unsupportive or inappropriate shoes. Athletic shoes are created to support the foot for specific sports. It's important to wear shoes designed for that activity only.

Stress fractures
Stress fractures are tiny, hairline cracks in the bone caused by repetitive force. These can occur in the foot and are common in athletes. If left untreated stress fractures can result in a complete break. Runners and athletes who play basketball, tennis, or are involved in gymnastics are most at risk, but any sport where your feet take a pounding can cause this condition.

Athletes who have flat feet and other faulty foot mechanics should wear shoes appropriate to their sport and should talk to their podiatrist about getting custom orthotics.

Low weight women athletes including those with an eating disorder and male and female athletes with osteoporosis are at particularly high risk for stress fractures.

Shoes That Are Worn Out/Have Uneven Wear
Athletic shoes should be purchased every 500 miles or when shoes wear unevenly on the bottom. Worn out shoes can't provide the proper support required for athletic endeavors resulting in greater likelihood of an injury. Uneven wear on shoes can result in trips, falls and turned ankles.

Am I Wearing the Right Athletic Shoe?
Many factors go into ensuring if an athletic shoe is right for you. In addition to replacing your shoes at the right time, follow these guidelines to help you make that determination.

  • Only wear shoes made for your particular athletic pursuit.

  • Neutral, flat, and high arched foot typesKnow your foot type. For some sports such as running, certain shoe types will work better than others to prevent foot problems. To determine your foot type, wet the sole of your foot. Step onto a blank piece of paper or a shopping bag. Step off the paper or shopping bag to examine the shape of your footprint and compare it to the photo on the right.

  • Know your motion mechanics. (e.g. over pronation, flat feet)

  • Your level of running experience including number of miles/week can also affect the best type of shoe for you.

  • Test your shoes before purchasing them. Although new athletic shoes should be supportive, it's always a good idea to test the shoes yourself as demonstrated in this video.

If you're experiencing foot or ankle pain or an injury, 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.

 

 

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.

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
January 22, 2020
Tags: Untagged

woman trying on shoesAs traffic in Seattle gets worse and women and men have more responsibilities at home and at work, more of my patients are opting to shop for shoes on Amazon or Zappos even though I always recommend a brick and mortar store.

If you happen to be one of those compelled by necessity to order your shoes online I have some tips that will make your experience more successful.

Measure Your Feet

It would be great if our feet would stay the same size after we reach adulthood but unfortunately for many of us this is not the case. An increase in shoe size is common. The most important part of buying a pair of shoes online is getting an accurate measurement of your feet. You could simply hop on down to your local shoe store and get measured or you can do it yourself at home. Here's how to measure your feet using a standard tape measure and how to convert this measurement to the correct size.

Only Keep Shoes That Fit

Keep in mind that shoes should feel comfortable when you try them on. While many of us learned that shoes require a break-in period, that's not true anymore. If a pair of shoes is uncomfortable when you try them on no amount of wearing them is likely to improve that outcome. More often the shoes will feel more uncomfortable the more you wear them. And that's just a recipe for foot pain. Keep those cute shoes in the box and return them.

If you want to be sure, wear them for several hours around your house.

Use An Online Store That Returns Shoes for Free

If the shoes don't fit properly, return them. That's where using an online store that allows free returns comes in handy. Amazon owns Zappos so both of these stores will allow you to return shoes for free. Likely other stores have followed suit. Just be sure you read the fine print to find out about their return policy including whether or not they accept shoes that have been worn outside.

Stick With the Tried and True

To have the best outcome with online shoe purchases, buy from brands that have worked for you in the past. Because brands may use a different last (the form used for making shoes) for making different styles of shoes it's also best to stick with a style that has worked well.

Read the Description

The shoes may look beautiful but the materials may be of poor quality. It's always a good idea to read the description to make sure you're getting the materials you were hoping for.

Keep A Shoe Log
To help you with your shoe purchases in the future, keep a shoe log. Keep track of the date, shoe brand, shoe name, and shoe size being sure to include both the length and the width. Although you could go back to your original shoes sometimes the sizes rub off and not everyone likes to save the boxes. This could save you a lot of time and trouble when making new purchases.

Follow Your Podiatrist's Recommendations

No matter where you buy your shoes, there are a few recommendations I make to all my patients who are looking to buy a new pair of shoes.

 

  • shop for and/or try on your online shoes at the end of the day when feet are likely to be most swollen.

  • buy shoes for your longest foot

  • try on your shoes with your orthotics

  • don't have orthotics but still want good support; remove the inserts the shoes came with and insert a pair of Powersteps.

  • choose shoes with a roomier toe box

  • choose shoes with a heel no higher than one inch

  • test your shoes to ensure they'll provide good support

 

Having problems finding shoes that fit or ones that won't cause pain, give us a call 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.