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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  • 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.

  • When should I replace my running shoes?

    It depends.

    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.

  • What is the difference between orthotics and shoe inserts?

    When you have foot pain, one of the common, nonsurgical treatment options that may be used is a pair of prescription orthotics. These medical devices are different than the shoe inserts that are mass-produced and available for sale at pharmacies or retail stores. A key distinction is that they are customized and made to specifically fit the unique contours of your feet.

    Store-bought inserts can offer additional comfort and cushioning, and even some extra arch support, but are not created to treat medical conditions. Orthotics, on the other hand, are actual medical devices prescribed by a doctor and may be a component of a comprehensive treatment plan. They can help correct imbalances in the foot and relieve painful foot conditions like plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia.

    If you are experiencing foot pain and may benefit from the use of custom foot supports, contact our Palm Desert, CA, office today and schedule an appointment with Harvey R. Danciger, DPM. Call us at (760) 568-0108 or use the online form to get the pain relief that you need today!

  • How come my new shoes felt fine in the store but hurt at home?

    Shoe salesman can play some tricks on the unsuspecting customer.  If they do not have your size in the store, they can bring you a shorter, wider shoe that may feel ok in the store, but when you wear them at home or out and about, you notice they do not feel good and hurt.  They can cause irritation to your feet as well.  This has been a common finding when our patients bring in their shoes for us to evaluate.


    Don’t be fooled anymore.  Learn how to fit your shoes properly and avoid these problems.  Take control of your feet. Call us for further information (760) 568-0108

  • Why are custom orthotics better than store bought ones?

    An orthotic is an insole that is placed inside your shoe to support and help control the positioning of your foot. Orthotics are an extremely beneficial form of treatment for a variety of foot conditions and injuries.

    Why custom is better:

    Many stores offer whole aisles worth of orthotics. So, why not just pick one that seems to suit your needs? Store bought orthotics are usually one size fits most. One of these may help for a limited amount of time but the bottom line is that a store bought orthotic is not made for YOU or your foot needs. A true custom orthotic is made from a mold of your specific foot structure and designed to help exactly the way you need it to. A store bought orthotic could possibly do more harm than good if it doesn’t fit well. You could end up with further foot problems and even knee, hip and back problems as well.

    Your feet deserve the best treatment available and that is going to be with a custom orthotic. If you still aren’t sure, bring in a store bought one you have been using and we can compare how it works next a custom orthotic. Contact Dr. Danciger to discuss how custom orthotics can help you. Contact our podiatric office at (760) 568-0108.

  • Should running shoes always have extra cushioning?

    When keeping in mind the good qualities to look for in a shoe, cushioning definitely has its place. If you stand at work, walk for long periods of time, or have a foot structure that needs support, it is a good idea to wear shoes that have proper cushioning to support your feet. This will help feet from tiring and prevent injury.

    Running Shoes

    There is quite a bit of debate as to whether extra cushioning is good in a running or exercise shoe. Every running shoe company seems to be coming up with a new special feature to lure you into buying their shoes. They all claim that “gel pods,” “pillows,” and “advanced air pockets” will make you feel as though you are running on air. However, studies and tests have shown that extra cushioning hinders the way your feet feel stability. They showed that feet landed harder due to not being able to feel the ground surface through all the cushioning.

    If you aren’t sure whether your shoes are keeping your feet healthy, bring them in to our office. We can evaluate your feet, gait and shoes and determine the best course of action to protect your feet. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Danciger today by calling our office at (760) 568-0108 or scheduling an appointment online.


  • Does price matter when buying new running shoes?

    When it comes to buying a new pair of running shoes the choices out there can not only be daunting but also take a hit on your bank account. The running shoe industry is worth billions of dollars and each brand is vying for your attention. If you are questioning whether or not price matters, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

    There have been studies whose findings have shown that runners in expensive running shoes were twice as likely to get hurt than those in averaged price shoes. The bottom line is that different brands and models are going to be made out of different materials.

    If you are going to be doing extensive running, a cheap tennis shoe is not going to be made to be a running shoe and therefore will most likely not suffice. A good shoe is going to offer support, cushioning and durability. Your foot type and structure may require a specific style that could cost a bit more. Having flat feet, high arches, wide feet, bunions or hammertoes will need a shoe that accommodates your foot. To get these qualities, you may not need a top of the line shoe but you should expect to make an investment that is going to protect your feet long term.

    Get your shoes evaluated

    Bring in your current running shoes if you have any concerns about your feet or if you have foot pain while you run. Dr. Harvey Danciger can evaluate your feet and your shoes and help decide what is best for your foot health in the long run. Call us today at (760) 568-0108 or connect with us online to make an appointment.

  • Will barefoot running shoes make me run better?

    The barefoot running trend has been steadily growing in popularity over the last few years. The controversy around it has been growing as well. If you are interested in joining the “minimalist” movement in an effort to improve your running, it is important to understand the impact on your foot health.

    The idea behind barefoot running

    The goal of barefoot running is to decrease the heel strike as you run and land on your forefoot or midfoot instead. Whether this difference will help you run better is yet to be truly confirmed. What we do know is the risk of injury is high. Trying barefoot running when you are not informed as to how to properly train your feet to handle the pressure can lead to serious injury. Having pre-existing foot problems or structural conditions can also be aggravated or worsened without the support of regular cushioned athletic shoes.

    The best advice we can give you is to talk to Dr. Danciger before you ditch your running shoes. He can evaluate your feet and advise on the best decision for your long-term foot health. Call our podiatric office today to make an appointment (760) 568-0108 or contact us immediately online.

  • Are Crocs good for your feet?

    Your feet are the foundation of your body and often foot health gets compromised from the kind of footwear that you choose to wear. Crocs are a type of shoe that has been around since 2002. They were originally created for boaters due to their non-slip treads and waterproof qualities. Since then, many styles have been designed for all members of the family and are sold everywhere.

    Are Crocs a healthy choice for footwear?

    As far as being a shoe healthy for your feet, crocs do provide some great benefits. There is a particular line of the brand called Crocs Rx, which are specifically designed to help with many common foot problems. Aside from being comfortable and offering good arch support, they are wide, which gives plenty of room for feet and toes to move. This is a great advantage if you have problems such as bunions and hammertoes. They have a deep insole that is beneficial if you need to wear custom orthotics. They are also very lightweight and have antibacterial properties that help ward against fungal infections.

    If you are in doubt about whether Crocs are good for your feet or foot condition, set up an appointment to speak with Dr. Danciger. He can assess your foot health and advise on the best choice to keep your feet safe and healthy.


  • Why do my shoes feel tighter in the afternoon?

    If your shoes are feeling a little tighter as the day goes on, this is a normal occurrence and usually nothing to be concerned about. The main reason that feet swell is from a build up of fluid.

    Over the course of a day, gravity pulls more fluid to your lower extremities, which can result in your feet swelling slightly. If you have been shopping, walking around or have a job that requires you to be on your feet for long periods of time, the swelling may be a bit worse.

    Due to the fact that feet tend to swell a bit during the day, Dr. Danciger always encourages his patients to shop for shoes in the afternoon. This way, you get a more accurate fit and will avoid buying shoes that could end up being too tight.

    Something else to keep in mind though, is that there are many other reasons feet can become swollen that gravity causing a bit of fluid retention. If at any point, the swelling becomes severe or does not subside, it is very important to seek treatment as soon as possible to find out the underlying cause. Contact Dr. Danciger to set up an appointment today. He can answer your questions and concerns about your feet and what you can do to keep them healthy.

  • Do toning shoes really work?

    There are vast amounts of options and “gadgets” out there to help you lose weight, tone your body and stay healthy. Some are simply a waste of time while others are legitimate tools that actually help.

    Do toning shoes work?

    There is no evidence available to support that toning shoes can “get you toned without stepping foot in a gym.” While creators of toning shoes claim that the shoes burn more calories with every step and make your leg muscles toned, researchers have found no difference between toning shoes and regular athletic shoes.

    The rocker bottom of the shoe’s sole is said to create an instability that would make your legs work harder to stay balanced. Again, research completed does not show this to be true. On another note, the unstable bottom could prove dangerous for people who already struggle with their balance. Toning shoes can also alter a person’s gait, which could lead to knee, hip and back problems.

    When in doubt, check it out.

    Contact Dr. Danciger to learn more about whether toning shoes would be good for the overall health of your feet and body.


  • Why do people say high heels are "dangerous"?

    The reason there is so much controversy about high heels in general is that they can be very unsafe for feet. Studies have shown that women who make a habit of wearing these types of shoes put themselves at risk for serious and potentially permanent damage to their feet, knees, hips and back.

    High heels cause a lot of stress to be put on the balls of your feet and create a more unstable foundation for your body. Your gait and posture changes when wearing high heels, which is what can lead to problems in the future. Wearing pointed toe shoes can cause conditions such as bunions to worsen over time.

    Toes being crowded and squeezed together can impact the development of hammertoes and corns and also lead to the development of neuromas, a painful condition when nerves are compressed and swell.

    Blisters, bursitis, capsulitis, and Achilles tendonitis are also common foot conditions seen in women who wear high heels on a regular basis. The higher heel, the higher the fall and women who wear tall heels are at risk for serious ankle sprains as well.

    Dr. Danciger encourages his patients that pain for the sake of fashion really never has a positive outcome in the long run. High heels can be very dangerous to feet even when worn for a small amount of time. Take care of your feet and choose a low-heeled comfortable shoe instead. If you suspect an injury due to wearing high heels, do not hesitate to call our podiatric office for diagnosis and treatment. Call (760) 568-0108 or schedule an appointment online.


  • What can I do about smelly shoes?

    Smelly shoes can be frustrating and embarrassing. It is important to know that the odor typically comes from bacteria that thrives in the dark, damp home that your shoes provide. Most shoes have removable insoles. Take them out and either dry them out or replace them with new ones that are designed to kill bacteria. 

    To keep odor at bay, it is important to keep shoes dry. Rotate the ones you wear every day and dry your shoes out in the sun or near a heater. Try an antifungal powder or spray to help eliminate bacteria or put your shoes in the freezer in a plastic bag. The freezing temperature will kill most of the odor-causing bacteria. Store bought odor removers or household baking soda allowed to absorb overnight can work effectively as well. 

    Smelly shoes are often a result of sweaty feet. Always wear socks in closed shoes, wash feet daily, check for fungal infections and practice good foot hygiene to keep bacteria at bay.


  • What shoes should I get if I have a neuroma?

    A neuroma is an enlarged growth of nerves. Tight-fitting shoes can cause tissues to rub against and irritate nerves in your feet. A neuroma commonly occurs between your third and fourth toes and results in pain, burning and numbness in the ball of the foot

    Injections, custom orthotics and shoe modifications are the most common forms of treatment for a neuroma in the foot. Choosing the right footwear can make a significance impact on the reduction of symptoms and future occurrence of a neuroma. 

    When it comes to footwear, start with measuring your feet. Feet change and grow over the years and one foot may be wider than the other. You want shoes to fit the wider foot. Shoes that are too narrow will only aggravate the symptoms of a neuroma. Avoid high heels and shoes with pointed toes. The pressure these types of shoes put on feet may not only cause a neuroma but also bring on the painful symptoms if you already have one.

    Look for shoes that are well cushioned and have laces. Laces allow the shoe to be adjustable to accommodate your foot type and width. If you are having a hard time finding shoes that alleviate the symptoms of a neuroma, contact Dr. Danciger for help. He can evaluate your feet and the severity of your condition to advise on appropriate footwear that will help.