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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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.
How can I reduce my risk of falling?
Falls represent a serious health risk for America’s aging population. Statistically, a third of all seniors will fall at least once this year, and the older you are, the worse your odds. Those falls can cause a lot of damage, too. Some are even fatal, and even those that aren’t (like a broken hip or leg) can permanently rob you of your independence and make it very difficult to stay active and healthy.
Simple steps to reduce your fall risk include:
- Stretch and exercise daily. We can help you develop a routine to help you improve your balance and agility and keep your feet, ankles, and legs strong and supported.
- Make sure your shoes are comfortable, stable, and supportive, with non-skid soles.
- Get your eyes checked. You may have lost some visual sharpness or even developed unknown “blind spots” in your visual field. Seeing clearly and accounting for any deficits makes navigation safer.
- Create a safe home environment. Remove obstacles that can make you trip, keep homes brightly lit, install handrails, grab bars, and non-slip mats where necessary. An occupational therapist can perform a home safety assessment and help you keep your living space as safe as possible for independent living.
If your feet and ankles aren’t as strong as they used to be, Dr. Harvey Danciger can help. Give our office a call at 760-568-0108 and find out what you can do to improve balance and reduce your fall risk as much as possible.
Do I need to apply sunscreen on my feet?
We know, we know—it’s tempting to “cheat” on applying sunscreen when you go out to the pool or enjoy a day outside. Faces and shoulders are top priority for everyone, but other body parts may be less likely to enjoy the same protection, and the feet are perhaps the most overlooked of all.
The skin on the top of your feet isn’t special. They can be sunburned, and any skin cancer that can appear anywhere else on the body can appear on the feet, too. This can include the most life-threatening variety, malignant melanoma. Worse, skin cancers that emerge on the feet may not be noticed as quickly as those that start elsewhere, giving them time to spread.
We urge you to use sunscreen on any and all skin that will be exposed to the sun’s rays and radiation (including the feet), check your feet regularly for any abnormal signs, and schedule an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert if you have any concerns. You can call us at 760-568-0108 or fill out our appointment request form online.
What are the signs of skin cancer?
The Coachella Valley is one of the sunniest places on the planet, which makes it a wonderful place to live—but also a place where you need to be careful about protecting your skin, and know how to identify a potential skin cancer when you see it.
The signs will depend on the type of cancer:
- Bumps or patches on the skin that have a pearly white appearance may be basal cell carcinoma, a relatively low-aggression form of skin cancer. They may resemble open sores, tumors, or ulcers.
- Small, scaled bumps that may swell, itch, crack, or bleed could be a sign of squamous cell carcinoma. It may be mistaken for eczema or other more common skin conditions.
- The most serious (and deadly) skin cancer, malignant melanoma, often begins as a brown or black (or rarely red or pink) spot or bump. You might mistake one for a mole, but melanomas often feature asymmetry, color mixing, or other features uncommon for more benign spots. It’s extremely important to catch melanoma early to give you the best chance at a positive outcome, so keep on the lockout and get any unusual spots checked as soon as possible.
To schedule a checkup with Dr. Harvey Danciger and the team in Palm Desert, please call 760-568-0108 or fill out our online form.
What types of conditions does laser therapy help?
Laser therapy—we use the MLS Laser system in our office—has shown to be effective in a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions, including:
- Neuropathy and nerve damage
- Plantar fasciitis
- Sports injuries, including sprains and strains
You’ll notice a lot of “-itis” words in that list—that suffix usually means the condition involves tissue inflammation, which laser therapy is especially good at treating. However, laser therapy has also proven helpful for situations as diverse as closing wounds, eliminating scar tissue, promoting faster healing, and even restoring nerve function. That’s because the wavelengths of light used by the system energize your body’s own natural healing processes by stimulating cellular activity.
Laser therapy is FDA approved and non-invasive. For more information or to set up an appointment with Dr. Danciger in Palm Desert, CA, please fill out and submit our online contact form, or give us a call at 760-568-0108.
When should I replace my running shoes?
There’s not necessarily a firm answer to this question that applies equally to every runner—or even the same runner at different stages in training or life—but in most cases the lifespan of a good pair of running shoes could be anywhere from 300-500 miles, maybe as many as 600 if you have a very efficient running style, an exceptionally well built pair of shoes, and stick to softer surfaces like trails.
The most important thing is that your shoes are still providing the support, cushioning, and grip you need to prevent fatigue and injuries. Midsole cushioning and tread flatten and wear down over time, reducing the shoe’s ability to absorb shocks and provide adequate grip. You’ll likely feel the difference, but if you aren’t sure, try on a new pair and see if the old ones feel flat. Once you start nearing (but haven’t quite reached) the end of one pair’s lifespan, it’s often wise to buy the next pair and break them in slowly, rotating between pairs for a few weeks before retiring the old one.
A specialty running store can help you determine when your old pair is out of gas and help you pick out a new one. We can help, too, with shoe recommendations, treatment for foot pain, or orthotics to provide extra cushioning and control abnormal motion. To schedule an appointment, please call 760-568-0108.
Is it possible to have neuropathy without diabetes?
Although peripheral neuropathy is very commonly associated with diabetes—it’s one of the most frequent, and most potentially destructive, complications that can arise from the condition—it can be caused by other factors as well.
Other causes include, but are not limited to:
- Alcohol abuse
- Trauma from injuries or repetitive motions
- Medical conditions such as kidney disease, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bone marrow disorders, and others
- Vitamin deficiencies, particularly of nerve-nourishing nutrients such as complex-B vitamins, Vitamin E, and niacin
- Benign or malignant tumors that form on or adjacent to nerve tissue
- Reactions to certain medications or toxins
If you meet any of the above criteria—or even if you don’t—it’s still a good idea to set an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger to address any concerns you may have about tingling feet or peripheral neuropathy. He will provide a full examination, making any diagnoses as necessary, and help you put together the best treatment plan to address your situation. You can reach us online, or by calling 760-568-0108 today.
What are the different types of arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t just one condition; the catch-all term encompasses dozens of different individual conditions, diseases, and disorders. The one thing they all have in common? Joint pain.
Some of the most common types include:
- Osteoarthritis, caused by normal wear and tear of the cartilage in the joint over many years.
- Post-traumatic arthritis, which results from a specific injury, possibly years later.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of your own joints, leading to inflammation and pain.
- Gout, painful inflammation of a joint (usually the base of the big toe) stemming from the body’s inability to sufficiently filter uric acid from the bloodstream.
- Lupus, another auto-immune disorder (like rheumatoid arthritis) but more serious, and which may affect many other systems besides the joints.
- Fibromyalgia, a condition where abnormalities in nerve function lead to increased sensitivity to pain and pressure.
Regardless of what’s causing your joint pain, lifestyle modification and medical therapies—both surgical and conservative—may be able to help you manage symptoms, minimize pain, and maximize mobility and quality of life. To find out what options are available for your arthritis, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA by calling 760-568-0108.
How does compression help an injury?
“Compression” is generally regarded as the least understood and most often skipped portion of the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol for post-injury pain and swelling management. But don’t underestimate its value.
An elastic bandage or other compression gear helps in a couple of ways. First, although it doesn’t truly provide full immobilization, compression limits the amount of motion at the site of injury and provides extra support for weakened or strained muscles. Additionally, compression helps keep your circulation running at peak efficiency, preventing fluids from pooling at the site of the injury, delivering oxygen and nutrients and removing waste products. In combination, these processes help prevent further damage and encourage faster healing.
If you’ve sustained a foot or ankle injury, let Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA help you manage your pain and swelling and get you in the fast lane to recovery. With a mix of traditional and advanced therapy techniques (including laser therapy), there’s a lot we can offer. Request an appointment online, or call 760-568-0108.
What should I look for in athletic footwear?
First things first: “athletic shoes” is a category, not an individual style. If you’re going to be engaging in sports, aerobics, dancing, or other athletic activity (and we think you should!), you should always look for a shoe designed with that activity in mind. If you ask your everyday tennis shoes to multitask, your risk of getting hurt go through the roof!
Beyond that, athletic shoes should provide a good fit and be comfortable from the moment you put them on—no “break-in” period should be required. The shoe should grip your heel firmly—you don’t want it too tight, of course, but the shoe should not slip around as you walk, run, or move side to side. Other attributes to look for will depend on your sport—for example, higher tops for basketball to prevent ankle injuries, tougher and flatter soles for court sports, more flexibility for running or jogging, etc.
If you don’t know what to look for, stop by a specialty shoe store—they’re specially trained to find you what you need. And if you need help with properly addressing sports injuries or getting set up with any necessary orthotics to safely accommodate existing problems, give Dr. Danciger in Palm Desert, CA a call for a prompt appointment. Reach us online or dial 760-568-0108.
What things can I do to keep my feet healthy?
You need your feet to last you a lifetime. If your feet are in pain, you can’t work, or play, or do any of the things you need or want to do. But how do you keep them healthy for the long haul?
There are too many tips to mention, but here are some of the big ones:
- Eat right. A healthy diet doesn’t just keep your waist slim; it also nourishes and strengthens the nerves, muscles, bones, and other tissues in your feet and ankles.
- Wear practical, comfortable shoes. Avoid heels and flip flops.
- Thoroughly wash and dry your feet every day, and change socks and shoes as frequently as necessary to avoid fungal infections.
- Inspect your feet every day for cuts, scrapes, swelling, or other problems, especially if you have diabetes.
- Make an appointment with your podiatrist as the first sign of any trouble—proactive care is by far the best strategy to keep feet healthy and avoid long-term issues.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA, please give our office a call at 760-568-0108.
Is surgery necessary to relieve neuroma pain?
Although surgery is required to remove a neuroma, many conservative treatment options exist that may adequately relieve your discomfort and stop the growth from progressing further—in fact, perhaps 80 percent of cases may be successfully managed in this way.
Non-surgical options may include:
- Switching to wider shoes that feature lower heels, softer soles, good support, and a proper fit.
- Shoe inserts such as metatarsal padding, arch supports, or custom orthotics.
- Laser treatments
- Temporarily avoiding activities that cause pain.
- Standard anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving strategies, such as over-the-counter medications, rest, and ice.
- Corticosteroid injections at our office.
However, if these options are attempted and fail to provide the adequate relief, we may discuss surgical options with you. There is no one “neuroma surgery,” but a variety of possible procedures that will be selected based on your condition and goals.
To discussion treatment options for a Morton’s neuroma—surgical or otherwise—please set an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA. You can request one online, or call 760-568-0108.
Can I still run with shin splints?
Unfortunately, the best advice for people with shin splints is to stop running entirely for a few weeks (or months) so that the pain can subside and your body can fully heal. We know this is difficult, especially for “hardcore” runners (the kind of people for whom “only” 20 miles a week seems like “rest”), but your body needs time. Continuing the activity that caused the initial discomfort will prevent healing.
While running is off the table for a while, stay active with low-impact exercises. If you have access to a pool, go for a swim or do some water running. Alternatively, try going for a nice bike ride. Activities such as these help you maintain cardiovascular fitness while protecting your still-healing shins.
If you’re suffering from shin splints, set up an appointment with Dr. Danciger in Palm Desert, CA today. You may benefit from custom orthotics, laser therapy, or other treatment methods designed to reduce pain or correct contributing issues. You can contact us online or dial 760-568-0108.
How long does it take to recover from bunion surgery?
There’s no simple answer to this question. Recovery times will vary depending on the severity of the initial condition, the type of surgical procedure selected, how closely you follow your surgeon’s instructions, your general health status, and other factors. It also depends on what is meant by “recovery”—some residual pain or swelling may be present for several months after the end of primary healing and rehabilitation periods.
For relatively minor procedures, especially those only involving soft tissues (no bone), recovery may last no longer than 6 weeks. For a major surgery, it may be 6 months or more for a complete recovery, and about 3 months before you can wear regular shoes or engage in normal daily weight-bearing activity.
While no one enjoys a lengthy recovery, don’t let that be your excuse—if conservative treatments have failed, surgery is often the best (and only) way to improve your quality of life and get you back to full strength. We think a few months of recovery is more than worth it. To schedule an appointment, call Dr. Danciger today at 760-568-0108.