Find Answers to Your Questions About Foot Care and Injury Prevention

Our Palm Desert podiatry team fields questions daily. Do you have a question about how to manage your foot pain? Do you have a question about the safety of a current footwear fad? Do you want to know more about foot and ankle injury prevention? If so, we hope you find the answers you need here.

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  • Can a nerve compression cause drop foot?

    Yes it can.  The nerve that supplies the muscles that go to the foot to help the foot move upwards during walking can become compressed from numerous causes and cause foot drop.  If this happens, you may notice a weakness in bringing your foot up when walking, an increase in instability in your foot, the feeling of falling, or even notice an increased noise caused by the foot slapping down to the ground instead of the normal slow progression.  This is known as foot slap and is what some people complain of.

    The nerve that can be compressed and cause these problems is the Common Fibular Nerve, previously known as the Common Peroneal Nerve.  You may have experienced temporary compression of this nerve if you have ever gotten up from sitting in a chair and your foot was asleep.  After a few seconds-minutes the sensations came back and all was fine again.  If the compression of this nerve does not go away, the foot drop is likely.

    The earlier the diagnosis is made and treatment started, the better the results are if you have drop foot or weakness during gait.  Dr. Danciger can evaluate the different nerves of the lower extremities and determine which, if any are causing the problem.   Call the office at 760-568-0108 for an appointment

  • Do bunion pads really work?

    Bunion pads main purpose is to cushion the pressure of the bump on the side of your big toe joint against anything that will put pressure on the toe. This often happens when wearing shoes.  There are various types of pads available to the public.  They can be found in your pharmacy, in some food stores in the foot care isle, in many different catalogs from stores, and online. All of these different pads main function is to try and decrease the pressure of the bunion against the shoe. 

    Bunion pads come in many different sizes and materials.  They can be made of foam, felt type material and gel.  Some pads come with an adhesive backing while others may have some type of a loop you use to put over the great toe to keep it on and in place. 

    Some people can get significant relief with using bunion pads or cushions regularly, while others can have minimal relief of symptoms. They will not change the shape of the bunion but may help give some relief till further care or surgery can be performed.  If you have a painful bunion on your feet, contact Dr. Harvey R. Danciger for a comprehensive evaluation and recommendation for the best treatment for your condition.

  • What does lower extremity nerve pain mean?

    Lower extremity nerve pain is pain that exists in the legs or feet.  Nerve pain is a bit more complicated to understand because of the different types of pain.

    The human body relies on the nervous system to communicate signals to the brain from the lower extremities. This system is like a computer interpreting the various impulses (signals) given off by the peripheral nervous system. The brain and spinal cord, called the central nervous system, are in communication with the peripheral nervous system (nerves going to the extremities.) The peripheral nerves receive information or signals from the skin, muscles and organs and send this information to the brain via the spinal cord.  The brain then receives these signals and processes the information and may send the answer back down the spinal cord to the peripheral nerves to cause an action to occur.

    One form of information which is interpreted and processed in the brain is that of physical sensation.  This can be the sensations of pain, tingling, hot, cold, burning to name a few.  For the circuit to be completed, the body relies on the peripheral nerves and nervous system. If these peripheral nerves are damaged, which can be from diabetes, injury, trauma, thyroid disorders and many other causes, it can result in painful sensations reaching the brain thru the spinal cord. When this happens, you need the treatment we provide.

    Contact our Palm Desert, CA office by using our online form or by calling (760) 568-0108 to find out more information about this form of nerve pain and the advanced treatment options we have to relieve it for you.

  • Why is my heel killing me when I got up this morning?

    Did you wake up one day and when you took your first step that morning have a sharp, severe, shooting, or burning pain in your heel?  Did you almost fall down because of the pain?  Do you scratch your head trying to think of how you injured your heel?  If you answered yes to these questions you may have a syndrome called heel pain syndrome.  Most people name this plantar fasciitis.

    Although heel pain can be caused by an injury, resulting in fractures, stress injuries; most often there has not been a recognizable accident the patient can remember.  There is a gradual strain to the plantar fascia, the long rubber band type structure that starts at the bottom of the heel and goes to the ball of the foot.  If there is increased stress to this tissue, which can be from many different reasons, one such reason can be increased flattening of the arch and pronation (the ankles rolling inward on stance) which causes the plantar fascia to stretch beyond point it is capable of and causes some of the fibers that attach to the heel bone to tear.  This causes irritation, bleeding and eventual pain.  When you are off your foot the tissue contracts until you stand up again and the process continues, over time getting worse.

    The sooner the problem is diagnosed and treatment started, the sooner you can be rid of the annoying problem.  Contact our office, Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA at 760-568-0108 to schedule an appointment and be on your way to relief.

  • How do I know if I have plantar fasciitis?

    Plantar fasciitis is a common overuse injury, caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia – a band of fibrous tissue that runs lengthwise along the bottom of the foot and helps support the foot arch. When this tissue is inflamed, you will likely feel a sharp, shooting pain in the bottom of your heel(s) that accompanies your first steps in the morning.

    As you walk around throughout the day, the pain may subside, but don’t make the mistake of thinking the condition is improved. Performing your normal activities—especially if you exercise on a regular basis—doesn’t allow the tissue to heal, and can actually lead to further damage. Instead, you need to make sure you have a treatment plan in place. The good news is we can help!

    If you have heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis and have not been able to find the relief you need, give the office of Harvey R. Danciger, DPM a call at (760) 568-0108. We’ll help you find solutions to your heel pain – possibly even with the use of our advanced laser therapy! Contact us today for more information!

  • What does paresthesia mean with nerves?

    Paresthesia is a condition that produces an abnormal tingling or numb sensation.  This is a sign that a nerve is overactive and transmitting more signals than normal.  Small electrical impulses run along the nerves from the spine to your legs.  These impulses or sensations also go up the spinal cord to your brain. 

    If, for some reason there is pressure on the nerve, it causes an interruption of the signals going back and forth which normally relate to the transmission of feeling.

    Paresthesias can result from many different causes.   These sensations may be permanent or they may be temporary.  Sometimes they can be reversed.

    If there is pressure on the nerve, which can be caused from diabetes, an injury, metabolic disorders, alcohol, chemotherapy, to name a few, the small blood vessels that supply nutrients to the nerve are also squeezed so they now deliver less oxygen and glucose (food) to the nerves.  These are what the nerves need to survive.  This causes the nerves inability to function properly by sending normal signals.  Numbness may result.

    If the pressure is removed the nerve cells start to receive the proper nutrients again from the blood vessels and the impulses can begin again.  This may be the sensations of pins and needles, tingling, as the nerves become hyperactive initially.  As nerves recover from the compression, they can be hyperactive for a period of time in some people.  This can be a good sign for recovery and may be temporary.

    If you are concerned about paresthesias, call Harvey R. Danciger, DPM for further information and evaluation.  He is located in Palm Desert, California.  Call 760-568-0108, or use our online appointment form.

  • Can numbness in the feet cause balance problems?

    Absolutely!  If you can not feel your feet you lose the ability to have normal sensations from the feet going to the brain to help you to adjust your balance.  This is called proprioception.  The areas of pressure which are applied to the skin of the feet when standing and walking help you adjust your balance as you feel your body moving towards the side and falling.   If your feet are numb, you do not have this ability to have the muscles working properly that help maintain your posture and balance.  Many people use canes or walkers because of this and instability it causes.

    You may walk slowly and take very short steps because of the fear of falling.  You do not have the sensation of where your feet are.  Falling and loss of balance can cause injuries including fractures of the leg and hip.  These can be devastating problems for many people because of the consequences of not being active which may increase the chance of blood clots, depression and poor circulation and breathing problems, and in diabetics, poor blood sugar control.

    There may be relief for you depending on the cause of the numbness and neuropathy.  An examination done in the office can help determine if your ability for walking and balance may be improved and as a result there can be an increased in sensations to the feet.  This may enable you to be more active which will have numerous benefits to you.

  • Can I exercise with neuropathy?

    Yes, you can exercise with neuropathy—and you should. Regular exercise is a critical part of managing and treating the disease. It supplies the damaged nerves with oxygen and nutrients, plus it helps manage medical conditions (diabetes, obesity, nutritional deficiency, etc.) that cause the neuropathy in the first place.

    However, your exercises should be chosen carefully to avoid accidental injury. Numb feet that can’t report pain to the brain are at high risk, and the consequences of a festering wound or injury are very high.

    Do not begin any exercise program without consulting us first. We can help you select effective, safe, low-impact exercises and stretches to use. This will help you gain the benefits of exercise for your neuropathy while minimizing the risk of unintended consequences. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger, give us a call today at (760) 568-0108.

  • Why am I unable to move my big toe upwards recently?

    There may be many reasons why you are not able to move your big toe upwards, especially if it happens over a period of time.  You may notice that it becomes difficult to walk because you may hear your foot slapping down on the ground, or you are tripping over your foot.  The fear of falling limits your activities.

    One cause, which can often be overlooked, may be an injury or compression of one of the nerves that goes to the big toe and foot and helps you bring the toe upwards and the foot upwards.  These nerves are the common fibular nerve and the deep fibular nerve.  Simple examinations done in the office can help determine if these nerves are involved.  A simple test, a diagnostic nerve block, can be given and many times after a few minutes, you may notice you are able to move the toe, where before there was no motion.  This can then help determine the best treatment options for you so you can get back on your feet again and doing many of the activities you once did.

    Why suffer from not being able to become active again due to the fear of falling.  Give our office a call at 760-568-0108 to schedule an appointment for a thorough evaluation of you nerve problem or make an appointment online.

  • What is Minimal Incision Surgery?

    Many people these days are concerned about how big a scar they will have after surgery.  They want the smallest incision possible and for them it doesn’t matter what type of surgery it is.

    Minimal Incision Surgery, often abbreviated as MIS, and can be applied to certain surgeries on the foot and toes.  This is when a very small incision is made, sometimes as small as ¼ to ½ inches long, and using special instruments the surgery can be performed.  Some types of procedures are able to be done by this method on the foot and toes and this may enable you to recover more quickly.  This can mean getting back into your shoes quicker and may enable you to return to your normal activities quicker.

    If you want to see if your foot or toe surgery can be performed with MIS technique by Dr. Danciger, Contact him online to set up an appointment, or give him a call at (760) 568-0108.

  • What are the signs of toenail fungus?

    Fungal toenails are not only embarrassing and unsightly, but they can get in the way of things you enjoy! The sooner you spot signs of toenail fungus, the sooner you can start fungal nail treatment and get rid of the problem before it spreads! Catch a fungal nail infection early by keeping an eye out for these tell-tale signs:

    • White spots or yellow streaks on and under the nail
    • Nail becomes thick, brittle, and crumbly
    • Buildup of debris gathers beneath the nail
    • Nail lifts from bed
    • Dullness, lack of luster
    • Nail becomes misshapen and distorted
    • Pain when wearing shoes
    • Foul Odor

    If you notice any of these fungal toenail symptoms, let us know! We can help with medication or laser therapy and get your nails back to being clear and healthy before you know it. You can make an appointment at our Palm Desert, CA office by dialing (760) 568-0108. We’ll help you fight the fungi fast!

  • Is every discolored toenail on my feet a fungal infection?

    Many people are alarmed when they look at their toenails and all of a sudden notice the nail is discolored.  They immediately think they have a fungus infection in the toenail, called onychomycosis.  Sometimes they are correct, but often they come into the office and the discoloration is a darkened area under the toenail.  They may remember wearing a shoe that caused some pain in the toe but did not think anything of it.  Some wait for weeks to see if it goes away, and when it doe not they call for an appointment.

    This type of toenail will typically have had some trauma to the nail causing some bleeding underneath the toenail, thus causing the dark discoloration.  The discoloration will typically grow out over time, depending on how far back it is located to the base of the toenail.  It may take anywhere from three to ten months to grow out.

    One of the problems with this “sub ungual hematoma” is that is it can be the precursor to developing a fungal infection in the toenail.  A fungus in the nail will generally have the appearance of yellowish-brown discoloration in the nail and the toenail may become thickened and also may be flaky.

    If you are concerned that you may have injured your toe or have a fungal infection, it is best to have it evaluated early.  This may help you avoid the embarrassing spread of the fungal infection into the other toenails and further discoloration.  The earlier treatment can be started the less time it may take to have those beautiful looking toenails again!

    If your toenails are discolored, thick, painful or crumbly; give us a call at (760) 568-0108 or contact us for an appointment thru the website so we can diagnose and help you have better looking toenails. 

  • What does external neurolysis mean in nerve surgery?

    When a nerve is entrapped or pinched this can cause pain, tingling and other neurological symptoms making your life miserable.  External neurolysis is surgery to release, or decompress, the nerve from the surrounding tight tissues causing compression on the nerve and restriction of blood flow to the nerve.  Releasing the tissues around the nerve which are causing compression, allows the nerve to move freely, can restore blood flow to the nerve, and help reduce the symptoms of the pinched and entrapped nerve.

    If you are suffering from nerve pain and cannot be as active as you would like to be, give Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA a call to schedule an appointment. 

    (760) 568-0108

  • Is there help for diabetic peripheral neuropathy?

    Peripheral neuropathy is a term used for nerve damage that is caused by long term high blood sugar and diabetes. Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, can lead to numbness, loss of sensation, and sometimes pain in your feet, legs, or hands. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common complication of diabetes.  Sorbitol, which is a product that glucose can break down into, gets into the nerves of diabetics and causes the nerves to attract water.  The nerve then swells-become larger and thicker, thus increasing the symptoms of neuropthy because of compression.

    About 60% to 70% of all people with diabetes will eventually develop peripheral neuropathy. In this group of patients, not everyone will develop pain as a symptom, however. Studies have shown that people with diabetes can decrease their risk of developing nerve damage and thus neuropathy, by maintaining their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible over a period of time.

    Early diagnosis and treatment is important.

    To schedule an appointment to see Dr. Harvey Danciger, call our Palm Desert, CA office at 760-568-0108.  Then you can know what options you have for treatment.

  • How does laser therapy for foot pain work?

    Laser therapy for foot pain relieves symptoms while at the same time, encourages repair and renewal of damaged cells. This allows you to heal more comfortably and quickly from a host of conditions and injuries. Here’s how it works: 

    A specific wavelength of light is used to pinpoint problem areas, harmlessly passing through your skin directly to the damaged tissues beneath. When the light energy arrives at its targeted location, it stimulates cell activity there, boosting healing properties, promoting new healthy cell growth, and encouraging your body to fight the inflammation. Swelling is reduced, thus, so is your foot pain, and damaged cells are eventually replaced with healthy ones. 

    This innovative, non-invasive treatment has no side effects and it can be done quickly and painlessly right here in our office. In addition, laser therapy for foot pain requires no down time, so you can go right back to your normal activities.  

    No one should ever suffer with foot pain. Call us and find out if laser therapy could help you improve your quality of life. Dial (760) 568-0108 to reach our Palm Desert, CA office today.  

  • What are the different types of skin cancer?

    We get a lot of sunshine in California, so it’s important to protect yourself from damaging rays – and that includes the skin on your feet. Getting too much sun can lead to the development of skin cancer. Knowing the signs of skin cancer, as well as the different types that can occur, is vital to getting necessary treatment as soon as possible.

    The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. This appears as a pinkish patch of skin or flesh-colored, pearly bump.

    Actinic keratoses are precancerous dry, scaly patches which can progress into squamous cell carcinoma, which is also fairly common. Typically, this type of skin cancer appears as a red, scaly bump or a recurring sore.

    Early diagnoses can stop these types of skin cancer from becoming worse, spreading, and causing damage. Of course, the most important cancer to spot and treat immediately is melanoma. This is the deadliest form of skin cancer and can be identified by remembering your ABCDE’s. If you spot a mole that is Asymmetrical, has an irregular Border, varies in Color, is large in Diameter and Evolves, call us right away. We will get you the prompt treatment you need to keep your feet and the rest of your body safe from harm.

    You can reach our Palm Desert, CA office at (760) 568-0108. If you notice any of these skin cancer signs, don’t delay!

  • How can I prepare for foot surgery?

    Preparing for foot surgery starts with knowing what to expect. Learn what your procedure entails, how long it might take to recover, and what medications and devices you will need to aid in your recovery.

    You should make arrangements with a loved one to get you to and from your surgery, as well as help you at home. It’s a good idea to stock up on supplies beforehand, and even make meals and freeze them for later. Prepare an area for rest with everything you need nearby – books, television remote, phone, snacks and drinks, medication, pillow and blanket, etc.  You may also want to reorganize your bathroom so that moving around and bathing is easier post-surgery.

    Be sure to schedule follow-up and physical therapy appointments ahead of time, too, and ask any questions you might have regarding your aftercare instructions. It’s important to be clear on what you need to do in order to heal properly.

    A little preparation will go a long way toward a stress-free and efficient recovery!

    For more tips and information on preparing for foot surgery, visit us online or call our Palm Desert, CA office at (760) 568-0108.

    Happy healing!

  • What is causing pain on top of my teen’s foot?

    Pain on the top of your teen’s foot can be a sign of a stress fracture, especially if your son or daughter participates in sports or activities that involve repetitive stress on the feet – like running long distances or jumping in basketball.

    If your teenager is going through a growth spurt, however, the problem may be the result of tarsal coalition – an issue that is present at birth but doesn’t show up until bones start maturing. In this case, individual bones grow together improperly, causing pain on the top or outside of the foot. It can also result in fatigue, muscle spasms, and stiffness.

    If your teenager is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to make an appointment with us so we can assess your teen’s foot, determine what’s behind the problem, and put a treatment plan in place.

    To make an appointment with our Palm Desert, CA office, simply call (760) 568-0108 or fill out our online contact form. 

  • Why is my toenail turning black?

    The most likely reason your toenail is turning black is because of blood pooling beneath it due to some type of trauma. Perhaps something heavy fell on your toe or your nail has undergone repetitive stress, such as repeatedly jamming against the front of your running shoe. Typically, the nail will grow out on its own, however, sometimes pressure from the buildup of blood can cause the nail to lift, become infected or painful, fall off, and even emit a foul odor. If this is the case, you should visit Dr. Harvey Danciger to receive treatment. Even if these symptoms do not arise, it is a good idea to have us take a look at your black toenail to rule out the rare possibility of melanoma.

    You can reach our Palm Desert, CA office by dialing (760) 568-0108 or by using our online contact form. We’ll be happy to set up an appointment for you, as well as share prevention tips to help you avoid black toenails in the first place!

  • Why elevate an Injury?

    In many cases, R.I.C.E. is the first step to treating an injury and starting the recovery process. The acronym stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

    Taking a break from activities allows your body time to heal as it rests. Icing and compressing the injury by wrapping it with an elastic bandage can help minimize pain and swelling. This is also the benefit that comes when you elevate an injury. By propping up your injured limb, raising it above heart level if possible, excess fluid is able to drain away from the injury, thus reducing inflammation in the area.

    If you are hurt, you can begin treating your injury with the R.I.C.E. method. However, if the injury involves your lower limbs, it is best to make an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger so he can assess the situation and determine if further treatment is necessary.

    Contact our Palm Desert, CA office by using our online form or by calling (760) 568-0108. We’ll make sure you get on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.