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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  • How long does a broken ankle take to heal?

    Recovery time for a broken ankle can vary quite a bit, depending on a variety of factors. Some of these include the severity of the initial injury, type of treatment performed, your age and health status, your ability to rest and perform physical therapy and rehab, and more.

    A good estimate for most broken ankles is 1-2 months of healing, followed by several more months of rehab designed to restore strength, balance, and range of motion. Simple fractures (where the bones more or less remain in place) generally heal faster and more successfully than more complicated fractures (which bones may be displaced or broken into smaller pieces).

    Whatever the recovery time may be, the important thing is to give yourself the time and dedication you need to achieve full healing and a complete recovery. To that end, it’s important to find the right podiatrist to help you get there. Contact Dr. Harvey Danciger today for an appointment. You can reach our Palm Desert, CA office online, or by calling 760-568-0108.

  • Are there exercises to strengthen my ankles?

    Yes! Exercise and physical therapy are strongly recommended to keep ankles healthy and strong and improve balance, especially if you’ve struggled with ankle sprains or chronic ankle instability.

    Simple balance and proprioception training—standing on your unstable leg (once your doctor has given you the go ahead, of course) and trying not to wobble—can show significant improvement in ankle strength and balance in just six weeks, and significantly reduce the chance of injury recurrence. Resistance stretches that evert or invert the ankle can also be particularly helpful.

    If you’re looking to strengthen your ankles, whether you’ve had a recent injury, chronic pain, or just want to improve your ankle health and balance, talk to Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA. We’ll help you build an exercise or physical therapy program right for you, along with providing any other treatment for foot and ankle conditions that you may require. Request an appointment online, or call our office today at 760-568-0108.

  • Is there a right way to trim toenails?

    There are right and wrong ways to properly trim toenails. You should use large nail clippers that are meant for toenails and always clip straight across—don’t round them.  Leave the side edges of the nails intact, so they’re less likely to grow inward. Start at one side of the nail and make small cuts across instead of trying to trim toenails in one shot. Leave the nails long enough to line up with the ends of the toes—any shorter and nails will be more prone to curving and growing inward. You can use a file to smooth edges, but only file in one direction—sawing back and forth weakens the nail.

    For most people with healthy feet, this can be done on your own and in your own home. If you have diabetes or another condition that compromises your foot health and immune system, though, it’s best to let Dr. Harvey Danciger help you safely trim your toenails without injuring your feet. You can reach our Palm Desert, CA office by calling (760) 568-0108.

  • Can nerve damage be reversed?

    To some extent, yes. If you take action early, before symptoms become severe, nerves damaged by peripheral neuropathy or other factors can regain some of their lost function. Healthy eating with plenty of vital nutrients, regular exercise, and carefully managing your sugar levels (especially if you have diabetes) have all shown some ability to nourish and heal struggling nerves.

    However, significant nerve damage with more severe symptoms is usually permanent. That’s why it’s important to seek professional treatment and make healthier choices as soon as you notice that something is wrong. Set up an appointment with Dr. Danciger for a full evaluation, any necessary treatment (such as laser therapy or prescription medications), and advice on healthy lifestyle habits that can help you prevent future complications.

    To schedule your appointment, connect with us online or call 760-568-0108. For more information about foot care, read our weekly blog or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google Plus.

  • What are hammertoes?

    Hammertoes could have a multitude of possible causes, both genetic and environmental in natural.

    The core problem is muscles out of balance. Muscle groups work in pairs to move a toe; when one member of the pair is significantly stronger than the other, the weaker muscle maybe unable to re-straighten the toe.

    Factors that can lead to the imbalance include:

    • Family history of hammertoes
    • Frequently wearing high heels or other narrow shoes that prevent toes from lying flat and/or put significant weight and pressure on the toes
    • Arthritis
    • Nerve problems, including those associated with stroke or diabetes

    If you notice a hammertoe beginning to develop, it’s important to address the problem quickly, before the joint becomes rigid and inflexible—doing so can help restrict the treatment plan to conservative treatments and give you the best chance at avoiding surgery. To set up an appointment with Dr. Danciger in Palm Desert, contact our office online, or dial 760-568-0108 today.

  • Can orthotics help with underpronation?

    Yes, they can!

    Underpronation, also known as supination, may not get the same kind of press as overpronation, but orthotics can still help compensate and correct for this gait abnormality.

    Those who underpronate (that is, their weight falls disproportionately on the outsides of their feet when walking or running) tend to have high arches, so orthotics with good arch support and soft cushioning tend to be very helpful. You’ll also want a flexible, lightweight shoe with a curved last, as this will help encourage your foot to roll inward more when you step.

    The right custom-made orthotic will be specially made to fit your exact foot shape, control your gait, and redistribute your weight evenly across your sole, whether you overpronate or underpronate. If you’re experiencing foot pain, the best decision you can make is calling Dr. Harvey Danciger for a full evaluation. From conservative therapies to custom orthotics and surgery, he is an expert in helping people regain a pain-free stride. Give us a call at 760-568-0108 for an appointment.

  • How long does it take to recover from neuroma surgery?

    As with any surgical procedure, there are no “hard and fast” timetables for recovery—it always depends on a wide variety of factors, including the severity of your initial condition, the type of surgery performed, your overall health, your ability to follow post-operative instructions faithfully, and more.

    That said, we can offer some general guidelines for neuroma surgery recovery. After the procedure you’ll need to wear a protective boot until you’re healthy enough to walk on your own; this period lasts from about 2 weeks to 1 month in most cases. You should be back in your own shoes soon (if not immediately) after that, usually no more than 6 weeks after the initial surgery. Minor swelling may last a bit longer.

    While no one likes being off their feet for a few days or weeks, neuroma surgery often gives people the best chance to eliminate chronic pain and go back to living a normal, pain-free life. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA, contact us online or give us a call at 760-568-0108.

  • Can physical therapy speed foot injury recovery?

    Yes! Physical therapy and laser therapy are often recommended as part of a comprehensive treatment and rehab plan for a host of foot and ankle injuries and issues, including bunion and hammertoe surgery, heel pain, neuropathy conditions, joint problems, and more.

    Physical therapy as well as laser treatments, when assigned and performed correctly, can help you regain range of motion, strengthen supporting muscles and tendons, reduce swelling, and improve circulation, which helps your body heal faster by delivering more oxygen to starving tissues and filtering waste products more efficiently.

    At first it may not feel like physical therapy is helping, but stick with it! Harvey Danciger, DPM cares deeply about getting you back to full health as quickly as possible; following your therapy instructions (whether part of a conservative treatment plan or postoperative rehabilitation) is an important step in this process. To schedule an appointment with the doctor at our Palm Desert, CA podiatry office, contact us online or dial 760-568-0108 today.

  • How can I prevent toenail fungus?

    Fungal toenail infections are stubborn things. Even once the fungus has been eradicated, it can still take months for the distorted, yellow toenail to fully grow out and off. That’s why prevention is the best strategy by far.

    In order to prevent fungus, keep your feet clean and dry, and avoid contact as much as possible with surfaces at high risk for contamination. Warm, moist, public surfaces, like locker rooms and showers, are fungus breeding grounds, so always bring a pair of sandals or shower shoes—never go barefoot. Change socks regularly and give shoes a chance to dry out completely (rotate through at least two pairs daily) so that fungus can’t build a home there, either. Putting antifungal powder in your shoes overnight is another good strategy.

    When toenail fungus comes to roost, give Harvey Danciger, DPM a call right away. These infections do not go away on their own and home care is almost always ineffective, but an experienced podiatrist can help you eradicate these pesky invaders for good. To schedule an appointment at our Palm Desert, CA office, call us at 760-568-0108 today.

  • Do all bunions require surgery?

    It is true that surgery is the only way to “correct” a bunion, in the sense that conservative treatments will not shrink or reposition the toe or bump in any way. Once the toe begins drifting inward, only surgery will bring it back to its original position.

    However, this does not necessarily mean that surgery is required in all, or even most, cases. While aesthetics are important for many people, the primary goal of treatment is to relieve pain and discomfort and allow you to live a full normal, healthy life. In many cases, this can be accomplished non-surgically through a variety of methods, including shoe modifications (sometimes all you need is a wider pair!), gel pads, orthotics, massage, laser therapy, and more.

    If you can find relief through these processes, great! However, if conservative methods are unsuccessful, trust the skill and experience of Harvey Danciger, DPM to plan and perform whatever surgical procedure will provide you with the best healing and recovery for your condition, age, and lifestyle goals. Schedule your appointment today online, or by calling 760-568-0108.

  • Why do I wake up with heel pain?

    There are a number of possible causes of heel pain, but if you find that your discomfort is worst in the morning—especially the first 15 minutes or so after stepping out of bed—the likely culprit is plantar fasciitis.

    This condition tends to hurt worst in the morning (or after long periods of napping or sitting) because the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, tends to tighten and shorten when not bearing weight. Those first few steps can feature sharp pain before the plantar fascia slowly stretches back to a more comfortable length.

    Fortunately, this condition can be treated conservatively. If you notices the symptoms, visit Harvey Danciger, DPM in Palm Desert, CA—he’ll help you tailor a treatment plan right for your situation. Options include rest, shoe inserts or modifications, laser therapy, night splints, and other techniques. To set up an appointment at our Coachella Valley office, dial 760-568-0108 today.

  • Are there stretches to help heel pain?

    Yes! There are plenty of good stretches you can try to alleviate heel pain from conditions such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Some of our favorites include:

    • Extend your leg forward, heel on the floor. Pull your big toe back toward your body and hold 20-30 seconds.
    • Sit on the floor as in the first stretch. Loop a towel around your foot, just under the toes, and gently pull on the ends of the towel.
    • Stand facing a wall, so that you can press your hands against it for balance. Step back with the affected leg, press your heel to the ground, and press your hips forward to get a good stretch in your calf.
    • Stand with toes on the edge of a stair and heels hanging over the edge. Slowly lower your heels until you can feel the stretch, and hold 20-30 seconds.

    If heel pain or Achilles trouble is bothering you, and home care hasn’t helped enough so you can function normally, call Harvey Danciger, DPM for treatment. Whether the best solution for you involves orthotics, physical therapy, laser therapy, or something else, Dr. Danciger will help you find it. Dial 760-568-0108 for an appointment today.

  • What can I expect from fungal nail laser treatment?

    As with any new technology, you might be a little worried about what to expect with laser treatment for fungal nails. We understand! The good news is that you have very little to worry about.

    The treatment itself involves usually. A typical treatment course involves 6 sessions, each lasting about 10-40 minutes at our office, depending on how many toenails need treatment. The laser is harmless to you but deadly to the fungi that live under your toenail—the wavelength of light we use passes straight through your toenail but hits the infection hard.

    You may feel a slight warming sensation during the procedure, but there should be no pain or discomfort whatsoever. Unlike with oral medication, you shouldn’t experience any side effects either.

    Although you’ll have to wait 6-12 months for a new, healthy nail to fully push out the damaged portion, most people experience obvious improvement in the color and quality of their nails after just a few sessions.

    If you’re suffering from fungal toenails and think laser therapy might be right for you, contact Harvey R. Danciger, DPM for an appointment today. You can do so online, or call us at 760-568-0108.

  • Are there conditions that increase my chance of falling?

    Many conditions can increase your falling risk, and although a lot of them are associated with advancing age, there’s no one main culprit—usually a number of factors are involved. For example, instability could be brought on by lack of exercise, or it could be related to a neurological condition such as neuropathy, which reduces or even blocks sensations in your feet.

    Declining muscle strength, balance, and flexibility will increase your instability, and while these things tend to diminish with age, it isn’t inevitable—regular exercise, including balance exercises, can help you improve your stability.

    Remember that environmental factors play a big role in determining your fall risk as well. Keeping your home free of obstacles and installing aids such as mats and grab bars for your bathroom can help you avoid tumbles even if your balance, stability, vision, or reflexes aren’t what they used to be.

    If you’re worried about your stability, visit Harvey R. Danciger, DPM for a fall risk assessment and treatment for any complicating conditions you may be experiencing. You can set up an appointment online, or by calling our Palm Desert office at 760-568-0108.

  • What causes nerve damage in your feet?

    There’s no single, universal cause of nerve damage in your feet, and it’s not always easy to predict specifically whether a certain activity or incident will result a nerve injury. That said, there are a number of common factors involved in many such cases.

    A Morton’s neuroma, a benign growth between the third and fourth toes, is generally caused by compression or trauma to a specific nerve. That could be caused by a wide number of mostly external factors, including high arches or other biomechanical foot deformities, repeated stresses or injuries from work or sports, tight shoes, and more.

    By contrast, peripheral neuropathy—systemic, progressive nerve damage throughout the lower legs—usually has “internal” causes. Chief among them is diabetes, as too much sugar in the bloodstream deprives nerves of blood flow and nutrition, though there are other potential causes, including alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiencies, and other diseases.

    Whatever the cause, Harvey R. Danciger, DPM can help you beat tingling, burning nerve pain. Whether your prescription is state-of-the-art (like laser therapy) or low-tech and simple (an insert for your shoes), he’ll put together the perfect treatment plan for your specific case. Set up an appointment online, or call 760-568-0108.

  • How do nerve blocks help diagnose my pain?

    A nerve block is an injection to a specific nerve which will cause the area the nerve supplies to become numb.  Because nerves in the lower extremity may have varying anatomic locations as the course down the leg and into the feet, and supply slightly different areas than normal, a nerve block can help identify if there are additional nerves supplying the region of pain you are experiencing.  The reaction to the length of time the block works and the type of reaction you have when the nerve block wears off are important in determining treatments available to you.


    Why suffer from the agonizing shooting, burning, tingling or other symptoms of nerve pain or neuropathy?  Give our office a call at 760-568-0108 to schedule an appointment for a thorough evaluation of you nerve problem.

  • Restless legs have you up at night?

    Are you tossing and turning at night when you should be sleeping?  Are your legs moving because you can’t keep them still?  Do you have sensations in your legs like pins and needles, ants crawling on your legs, itching in the skin?


    You may have a condition called restless leg syndrome.  There can be many causes for this condition.  Once the cause is determined, there maybe help for you so you can enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.


    If you are having any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment online at Harvey R. Danciger, DPM, or call  our office 760-568-0108 and you might just be on the way to restful nights sleep again.


  • Can exercise help my circulation?


    While we always caution those with circulatory disorders such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) not to push themselves too hard and always exercise safely, regular activity is one of the best ways to improve circulation, halt symptoms such as claudication, numbness, and leg pain, and slow or even reverse disease progression. Simply walking for about an hour at a time, 3-5 times per week, often has a profoundly positive affect on alleviating PAD symptoms, with most people noticing a change within the first month. Other exercises, such as leg strength training, may also be effective.

    That said, we don’t want you to launch into an exercise program without checking with Harvey R. Danciger, DPM first. The combination of circulatory or heart issues and the dry desert heat can be dangerous, and we want you to be safe. Give our Palm Desert, CA office a call at 760-568-0108 or connect with us online to schedule an appointment today.

  • Are all Orthotic’s equal?

    The answer is definitely no!!!  A functional orthosis is made to re-align the bones and joints of the feet to allow better function of the muscles, the feet and legs.  It is important to have a proper casting of the feet in the corrected position for the orthosis to be made correctly.


    A custom orthosis is not something that a salesperson measures your foot and then goes into the back room and brings out an arch support for you, like many stores will do.  They do say it is a custom device and charge a lot of money for them.  Be Careful!!!  A true functional orthosis takes time to make by a qualified lab.  It is not done in a few days.


    For further information on orthosis, or to be evaluated to see if functional orthosis will benefit you, give our office a call.  760-568-0108 or schedule an appointment online

  • What is a ganglion cyst?

    A ganglion cyst is a small, circular growth filled with a jelly-like fluid, emerging on top of a joint capsule or tendon sheath. Most commonly, they range from roughly the size of a pea to about an inch and a half across, can grow or shrink (or even disappear over time), and are usually found on the wrist or top of the foot.

    Also known as “Bible bumps,” these growths are benign, non-cancerous, and almost never medically serious, although they can cause pain and discomfort or impair mobility depending on their size and location.

    It’s not really clear why these masses form—one theory suggests that a damaged capsule or protective sheath allows fluid to leak into a space, causing the bump.

    Though they’re often harmless, you should have a suspected ganglion cyst checked out by Harvey R. Danciger, DPM as soon as you notice one. We want to make sure it isn’t something serious, and we can offer treatment options or lifestyle modifications that may help your cyst shrink or even go away. Set up an appointment today by dialing (760) 568 – 0108.