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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  • Is it important to exercise my toes?

    If you have ever stubbed your toe, you realized in an instant how important your toes are. Even a minor injury, condition, infection or deformity can cause significant pain and impact your ability to walk, run and carry out daily activities.

    There are several reasons why exercising toes is good for their overall health. Your toes are critical for walking and balancing, and exercises will help them stay flexible and strong. Stretching exercises promote a healthy spacing between your toes, which helps to avoid fungal infections. Toes are flexible, but over time they can turn stiff and rigid. Full range of motion exercises can prevent the development of deformities such as claw and hammertoe, or keep your toes flexible if they have begun forming. If you are an athlete involved in a lot of running, jumping or moving on your toes and the balls of your feet, strengthening exercises will keep your toes strong and able to withstand the pressure from your activities.

    Contact Dr. Harvey Danciger if you are experiencing pain or notice a problem developing with your toes. Quick treatment means a quicker recovery. Call our Palm Desert, CA office at (760) 568-0108. 

  • What are the best foods for healthy joints?

    There are numerous reasons for eating healthy and maintaining healthy joints is definitely on the top-ten list. More than 20 million Americans are affected by osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that wears down the cartilage in your bones and can significantly impact your mobility and quality of life.

    You don’t have to be in pain to eat in such a way to keep joints healthy. Proper nutrition can keep this disease away, slow it down if it has developed and even reverse it. Start with focusing on foods with omega-3 fatty acids, which would include wild salmon, walnuts and flax. Almonds, sunflower seeds and peanuts provide essential vitamin E that protects joint cells. Boost your vitamin C intake with oranges and papayas and include black beans, which are full of protein and antioxidants. If you aren’t sure, it is always a safe bet to steer clear of processed food and stick with colorful foods in the produce section.

    Untreated joint pain will only get worse. Please call Dr. Danciger to schedule an appointment today at (760) 568-0108.

  • What causes gout?

    Gout is a condition that causes sudden, severe attacks of pain. The big toe joint is the most common area to be affected when it comes to feet. This condition is a complex form of arthritis that, while painful, can be treated and prevented.

    This form of arthritis happens when levels of uric acid in the body accumulate. Too much uric acid results in the formation of urate crystals in the joints. These crystals are needle-like in form, which explains the inflammation and pain that comes with their presence. Uric acid usually just dissolves, but with some people the body produces too much, or kidneys do not function like they should to excrete the acid as needed.

    Uric acid is formed when your body breaks down purines, a substance found in your body and in certain foods. If you know you are susceptible to gout attacks, it is helpful to avoid foods particularly high in purines such as anchovies, asparagus, mushrooms and organ meats.

    This toe pain can be severe, making it unbearable to even have a sheet resting on your feet at night. Please call Dr. Danciger today for treatment for this condition or more ways to avoid future attacks. Call our office to make an appointment at (760) 568-0108.

  • What foods should I avoid if I have gout?

    Gout is a complex form of arthritis that can come on suddenly and cause very painful symptoms. Dr. Danciger’s patients who have experienced gout describe symptoms of shooting pain, tenderness and swelling. This condition typically affects the big toe joint and episodes can last from days to weeks and even months.

    To avoid sudden attacks of gout, your diet will play a large role. Gout is the result of a build-up of uric acid. Certain foods, especially those rich in purines, can increase the risk of developing gout.

    Some gout-inducing foods to avoid and/or limit include:

    •     Beer and alcohol
    •     Red meat
    •     Seafood
    •     High-fructose fruits: apples, peaches, plums, grapes and cherries.
    •     Sugary soft drinks and juices
    •     Processed foods

    Please contact Dr. Danciger, podiatrist in Coachella Valley, if you are currently struggling with a gout attack or would like further information on preventing this painful condition. Call us today at (760) 568-0108 or connect with us online to schedule an appointment.

  • What's the idea behind barefoot running?

    The barefoot running idea and the associated minimalist shoe craze has really taken the running circles by storm the last few years. There is much controversy over it and rightfully so when foot and ankle health may be at stake.

    The idea behind ditching traditional running shoes and running barefoot is to avoid a jarring heel strike by landing more gently on the mid or fore-foot. Supporters of barefoot running argue that the force put on feet while wearing running shoes and landing on the rear-foot is what leads to many running-related injuries. It is stated by many that barefoot running improves strength and balance as the body is forced to perform a more natural running style.

    While research and studies may support health benefits from barefoot running, there is not much evidence for the long-term effects. Recent reports have noted that this style of running puts a runner at risk for stress on the lower extremities and increases chances for injuries such as plantar fasciitis, calf pain and tibial stress fractures.

    If you are interested in this style of running, consult Dr. Danciger before stepping out without the protection of good, supportive shoes. You may have underlying conditions or a foot structure that would be aggravated and unable to withstand the change. 

  • How many steps should I take in a day to lose weight?

    With obesity being an epidemic in our society, there is a lot of attention put on the risks of being overweight. Diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis are just a few of the health problems associated with obesity. Due to these warnings, many people are making changes and getting active. For many wanting to get healthier, walking is an effective way to accomplish that.

    How much walking does it take to make a difference? 10,000 steps per day is the number to aim for. It may sound like a lot, but it is equal to about 30 minutes of strenuous activity or walking 5 miles. To put things into perspective, one extra pound of fat on your body is equal to 3,500 calories. To put a dent into those extra pounds, it is going to take some effort to lose some of that weight. If you can make a way to get 10,000 steps a day in your daily routine, you will be burning 2,000 to 3,500 calories a week!

    Start small!

    Aim to increase your steps each week and be creative with how to get those extra steps in. Using a pedometer is a great tool to keep track of your progress.

    If you are concerned about your foot health or footwear, see Dr. Danciger before beginning to step up your fitness routine. He can partner with you to help you reach your goals and keep your feet healthy along the way. Contact him online to set up an appointment, or give him a call at (760) 568-0108.


  • How can I easily reduce my salt intake?

    Salt is a tableside staple during meals for many people. The dangers of too much salt are real and one-too-many “pinches here and there” can do serious harm to your body. One teaspoon of salt has 2,325 mg of sodium in it. The table salt you use, processed foods and restaurant menus can make your salt intake climb dangerously high.

    Here are some easy tips to help you reduce your salt intake:

    • Look at the label – compare foods and choose ones that have lower sodium.
    • Eat fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
    • Use lemon juice, spices and herbs to enhance the flavor of your food instead of salt.
    • Limit how much you eat out but when you do, ask for your dish to be made with less or without salt.
    • Stay away from processed foods and be careful of your portion sizes.

    Small changes can make a big difference in your health. For some, the dash of salt can be more of a habit then a necessity. Stay informed of the risks and use these easy tips to stay healthier. Dr. Danciger and his staff can offer you the tools and advice you need to take charge of your health. Request an appointment with him today!

    To learn more about foot and ankle health specifically, order one of the complimentary books by Dr. Danciger

  • How many calories do I have to burn to lose a pound?

    Heart disease, diabetes and joint pain are just a few of the complications that can arise in someone who is overweight. Putting the effort in to stay healthy and lose weight is a great endeavor but knowing exactly what it takes to reach your goals is important.

    One pound of body fat is equal to about 3,500 calories. To give you some perspective, if you choose to lower your calorie intake by 500 calories per day, it would take you one week to lose one pound. To lose weight in a healthy way, it is said that losing two pounds a week is acceptable. If you are on a program of lowering calories, too much too soon can do more harm than good. Your body needs vital nutrients, especially if consistent exercise is part of your program as well.

    If you are new to a healthy eating and fitness program, see Dr. Danciger to ensure your feet and ankles are in good health. He can identify any potential problems you may encounter, provide footwear advice and give any treatment for current foot pain symptoms.