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 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 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Ugly Toenails Look Better?

    Thick and ugly toenails can have many causes such as from: fungus infections, trauma, and injuries. When there is fungus, different treatments are available, however it still takes a year for the nail to grow out and look better.


    At the office of Harvey R. Danciger, DPM, we have a solution to that ugly toenail!  We offer the Keryflex toenail restoration system. This procedure uses polymer resins to create a flexible, durable artificial nail. This toenail looks and acts like your natural toenail.  In just 15 minutes, we can create a natural looking nail that takes the place of the damaged nail.  These nails are safe to apply polish as well as polish remover.

    Weddings, vacations and warm weather are many of the reasons why people choose KeryFlex in our office.  They want their toes to look good.

    Keryflex treatments are not just for women, many men have them too to make the toenail look better.

    Ugly Toenails

    Why wait.  Give us a call and be on the way to better looking toenails.  760-568-0108

  • Is athlete’s foot contagious?

    Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection, and thus potentially contagious. There is more than one fungus that can be responsible for the condition, and an infection can be picked up in a variety of places.

    Is athlete's foot contagious?

    The disease receives its name from how commonly it can be spread within sports facilities. Locker rooms, showers, swimming pools, and 

    other public locations where people go barefoot can spread the fungus. The infection is not restricted to athletes, however. It can also be spread at nail salons or through any direct contact with contaminated skin, clothing, or shoes.

    The fungus grows best in warm, damp conditions. Those who wear tight, wet shoes, or whose feet sweat frequently, are at a higher risk for contracting the infection.

    If you believe you have athlete’s foot, don’t spread it. Let Dr. Harvey Danciger, DPM, properly diagnose your problem and provide the best solutions to get your feet back into sporting form. Call our Palm Desert office at (760) 568-0108 to schedule an appointment.

  • What is a bone spur under the toenail?

    A bone spur under the toenail can cause pain and deformity in the toe and toenail.  It can be caused from trauma that occurred years ago and took time to develop.  It causes the toenail to become curved with the apex or top in the middle of the toenail, like a small hill.  This can cause pain when pressure is applied to the top of the nail form a shoe, bed sheets, or even socks.  X-rays can identify the problem.  If pain is severe enough, surgery to remove the bone spur can often be performed.


    Why suffer with pain when there is relief available.  Call Harvey R. Danciger, DPM, in Palm Desert, California, for relief of your pain. 760-568-0108

  • Are the instruments used safe during a pedicure?

    People who get pedicures have to understand that the stores, salons, and shops they go to for their pedicures; typically only clean their instruments between customers.  They do not sterilize them to make sure that any bacteria, fungus or blood products are gone.  If they cut you by accident this could pose a potential problem.


    All too often pedicurists cut the cuticles on the toes and this causes an opening for fungus to enter and attack the toenails and possible infection can result.


    The safe way is to bring your own instruments with you each time you get a pedicure, so you know where they have been and what they were in contact with.


    For further questions call Harvey R. Danciger, DPM at our Palm Desert office 760-568-0108 or click here to make an appointment.

  • What are some dangers of pedicures?

    Pedicures can be safe for many people but there are certain dangers which to look out for.


    You need to be careful of the foot baths that they put you in prior to performing the pedicure.  Oftentimes, the person before you or at some point during the day has had either athlete’s foot or fungus toenails and was put into the same piece of equipment.  There is no way to sterilize the tubing and inside parts of the machine where the water circulates, so scrubbing the basin is not enough to protect you from possibly getting fungus toenails.


    Another danger is having the pedicurist try to cut out an ingrown toenail.  They do not have the proper instrumentation and often leave part of the toenail that is deep into the skin and they can not see.  You may feel better for a day or so but then may notice increased pain and redness in the area.  There may be drainage as well.  Next thing you know you have an infection in the area.


    If you are concerned about any problems with your toenails, visit us for care.  We are located in Palm Desert, California and serve the entire Coachella Valley.

  • Are my black toenails caused by running?

    While not the only reason for black toenails, running is often a culprit. This is because of the repetitive motion of your toes jamming against the front of your shoes when you run over and over again. If your toes are crushed in your shoe because they do not fit properly, the repeated trauma is even worse, and your toenails can turn a black, purple, or brownish color. This discoloration is a result of blood built-up beneath the nail.

    Sometimes, your nail will fall off and grow back on its own.  However, in some cases the pressure from the blood that has pooled under the nail needs to be released or drained by a podiatrist.

    There are a lot of running aficionados in Palm Desert, CA, which means there are a lot of black toenails out there needing to be treated! Dr. Harvey Danciger can help. Call (760) 568-0108 to schedule an appointment today.

  • Why do I get corns?

    A corn is a thick, hardened area of skin that forms on areas that are experiencing extra pressure, rubbing, or friction. Corns are a common problem that actually develop as a form of defense to protect your skin.

    A corn is usually found on an area of direct pressure, and the tops of your toes often fall victim. Soft corns can be found between your toes. If your feet are normal and healthy, your corns are likely from wearing tight fitting shoes that squeeze your feet. Most often, this foot problem occurs due to an underlying bone problem or abnormality. Eliminating the source of friction is usually the first step in treating corns, but a structural problem or deformity may need to be treated as well to keep corns from recurring.

    For diagnosis and treatment of corns, call our office in Palm Desert, CA at (760) 568-0108, and make an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger.

  • Are all skin problems on the feet Athlete's Foot?

    The answer is no.  Athlete's Foot, or tinea pedis, is a condition that is common on the foot and in between the toes.  There may be redness, scaling, itching, blisters, fissures associated with this problem.  It is caused by a fungus and needs to be treated with antifungal medication not antibiotics.


    All of the symptoms noted above can be caused from other diseases which are treated differently than tinea pedis.  Various types of dermatitis can present with the same symptoms.  Contact dermatitis can mimic this.  Psoriasis can have similar features.  Eczematous dermatitis can as well.


    It is important to have a definite diagnosis for treatment.  At times a biopsy is needed to determine the exact disease process.


    If you are suffering with these problems, come see Harvey Danciger, DPM for care.  We are located in Palm Desert, California.  760-568-0108

  • Is my toe infection healing?

    A toe injury can be caused by dropping something heavy on your foot, jamming your toe, an ingrown toenail, or a cut or puncture wound. It is common for a level of pain or inflammation to develop, but the signs of an infection are specific and should be carefully watched.

    If you are monitoring a toe infection, keep an eye on increased pain, redness, swelling, warmth around the affected area, red streaks, drainage of pus, and fever. If these symptoms continue to be present for any length of time, it is likely that your infection is not healing properly or is getting worse. There are cases where a skin or tissue infection can end up infecting the underlying bone if left untreated. For this reason, we want you to contact Dr. Harvey Danciger if the symptoms described here are present beyond a couple of days or are getting worse. Call our office at (760) 568-0108 to make an appointment.

  • Will my ingrown toenail grow back abnormally after it is fixed?

    An ingrown toenail that curves and grows into the skin can be a mild problem that grows out on its own or become a serious condition involving significant pain and/or infection. In mild cases, self-care methods work well and the toenail is apt to grow out normally. In more serious situations, surgery may be necessary. This may involve removing a tiny portion of the ingrown nail or permanent removal of the side and root of the nail to prevent the edge from growing in again. If just a portion of a nail is removed, the toe will heal and the nail most often grows back normally. When a more permanent procedure is performed, using lasers or chemicals, that part of the nail may only grow back partially—or not at all.

    If you are in need of treatment for an ingrown toenail problem, don’t wait until it gets worse. Call our office at (760) 568-0108 to make an appointment with Dr. Harvey Danciger today.

  • Is surgery for an ingrown toenail painful?

    Many patients come into the office complaining of painful ingrown toenails.  If certain types of conservative care is not affording the patient continued relief, then surgery is an option.  The majority of patients are apprehensive about the surgery because of stories they have heard from patients who had the procedures done by their Family Doctor.  Podiatric Physicians do this surgery all the time and most patients relate minimal discomfort or no discomfort after the procedure.  Sometimes, they will take a Tylenol at night if they think they will have pain, but that is usually the only time.


    If you have been suffering from the pain associated with an ingrown toenail, call our office for relief.  (760) 568-0108