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.

  • Page 1
  • 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.

  • How should I treat my callus?

    A callus is a buildup of rough, dead skin that forms with good intentions -- to protect your skin from pressure. However, these buildups can grow bigger and even become painful when pressure continues to be placed upon them, so treatment is necessary to prevent the problem from getting worse.

    The best way to treat a callus is by soaking your foot in a warm foot bath to soften the area. Pat your foot dry, then dip a pumice stone in the water before gently rubbing the callus in a circular motion to smooth rough skin and eliminate dead layers.

    Never try to cut away a callus, especially if you have diabetes! This could lead to infection. Instead, schedule an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger at our Palm Desert, CA office. You can use our online contact form, or give us a call at (760) 568-0108, and we’ll be happy to help keep your skin and feet healthy

  • What are the symptoms of athlete’s foot?

    Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection on the skin of your feet, caused by the same set of fungi that can also lead to ringworm, jock itch, and fungal toenails. Common symptoms may include:

    • A red, scaly rash often found in between toes and the tops of the feet
    • Peeling, cracking, or flaking that may appear similar to eczema
    • Itching or burning sensations
    • Foul odor

    Most cases of athlete’s foot can be treated at home via twice-daily application of a topical antifungal cream, available over the counter at just about any pharmacy. Because athlete’s foot is contagious and can spread to other areas of the body (such as the toenails), you should pursue treatment immediately.

    If symptoms are severe or do not clear up with home treatment, please make an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA for stronger remedies. You can reach us by dialing (760) 568-0108.

  • Why are there flat bumps on my feet?

    There are lots of possible reasons you might develop lumps and bumps on your feet, heels, ankles, or back of your leg. Blisters, cysts, warts, bruises, tumors, or other conditions can create small pockets of swollen tissues from time to time.

    One less well known type of bump that may appear on your feet or your lower legs is a xanthoma. These are often relatively flat in shape and yellowish in color, and are formed when fatty lipids build up and form a deposit underneath your skin. Although the bumps themselves are for the most part harmless, their presence may suggest a separate underlying problem, such as diabetes or high cholesterol.

    Since these underlying conditions can be quite dangerous if left untreated, we recommend that you set an appointment with Dr. Danciger to investigate any strange lumps, nodules, or other masses you may discover on your feet, ankles, or calves. Dial 760-568-0108 today to see us at our Palm Desert, CA office.

  • What can shoe wear patterns reveal?

    Your shoes have a lot to tell you about how you walk! Wear patterns across the tread and even the outside of the sole and uppers can reveal much about your foot structure, gait, and biomechanics. For example:

    • Excess tread wear concentrated on the inside of the shoe could mean overpronation or flat feet.
    • Excess tread wear concentrated on the outside of the shoe could mean supination or high arches.
    • Wear that is not symmetrical between left and right shoes could indicate over-striding or a discrepancy in leg length.
    •  Toe ridges on the top of the upper probably means you shoe is too small or you have hammertoes.
    • Bulging in the toe box, particularly at the base of the big toe, probably means your shoe is too narrow or you have a bunion.
    • Cracks and lines alone the outside of the shoe show compression in the cushioning, meaning impact forces aren’t being absorbed efficiently.

    Clues such as these can help you identify a problem that needs addressing, as well as provide guidance on what to look for in your next pair. They also indicate that it’s probably time to see Dr. Harvey Danciger for a physical exam of your feet, especially if you’ve been dealing with chronic pain or fatigue in the feet and legs. Give us a call at 760-568-0108 to schedule your appointment.

  • Should I do anything to prepare my feet for foot surgery?

    Careful preparation in the days before foot surgery can help make the aftercare process go more smoothly for you, aiding in the speed and fullness of healing and reducing risk of setbacks—not to mention making your life a little easier and more comfortable!

    Each surgery is different—you won’t necessarily prepare for each in the same way—and we’ll always make sure you’re fully aware of your responsibilities and instructions. That said, some general tips include:

    • Arranging for friends or family to stay with you or be available to assist with daily tasks in the first few days or weeks after your surgery.
    • Making sure your living area is clean and obstacle free.
    • Moving essential items (such as food, clothing, kitchen or bathroom supplies) to places where they’ll be easier to access.
    • Avoiding medications or substances that can impair healing, such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, birth control, nicotine, or alcohol.

    We’ll, of course, share a more specific list with you at your appointment, which you can schedule today by calling 760-568-0108.

  • Why do I keep losing my balance?

    Several factors can contribute to a reduction in balance.

    The most common is simply that balance tends to decline with age, especially among the elderly. While this is to an extent a natural and partially irreversible phenomenon, the truth is that people can retain a strong sense of balance and firm gait well into their senior years as long as they’re staying healthy and active and regularly perform balance training exercises. If foot pain is preventing you from being as active as you want, give us a call and let us help.

    Injury can also lead to balance loss. Multiple ankle sprains, particularly those where proper time and correct medical attention are not administered, can result in chronic weakening of the ligaments that support the joint. You may feel wobbly on your feet or find the outside of your ankle frequently giving way.

    Regardless of what’s causing your loss of balance, the good news is that you can find help. Set an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger for a thorough examination, diagnosis, and treatment of any conditions that may be contributing to your balance loss. You can request an appointment online, or give us a call at 760-568-0108 to schedule at our Palm Desert, CA office.