Phoenix Foot Doctor

Foot Surgery Phoenix

Bunions and hammertoes are just two of the foot concerns that we handle at Desert Foot Surgeons. Our Phoenix foot doctor, Stephen Geller, DPM, can help. Both conditions can be the result of genetics as well as other possible causes.

85018 Foot Care

85018 Foot Care

A bunion is a bony protrusion that can occur at the base of your big toe, at the joint where it is attached to the foot. It can impede your ability to walk in a normal fashion and can cause discomfort and pain, sometimes severe. Pressure and friction from walking and from socks and shoes can lead to the formation of calluses too. In many cases, bunions develop due to too much pressure on the big toe joint because of the way you walk. Other outside causes include having flat feet, and wearing shoes that are too tight. At least partially because of the high-heeled shoes, women are more prone to bunions than men are. Treatment by our Phoenix foot doctor will often be dependent on the severity of the problem. For example, if you have a bunion that is not causing any pain or discomfort, you may need no treatment at all at that time. When treatment is necessary, it can be either lifestyle changes (such as wearing more comfortable shoes) to using bunion pads or arch supports to help redistribute the weight on your foot. In more severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove the bunion and give you relief from the pain and difficulty.

One of the possible causes of hammertoes is having bunions, so there is a connection as sometimes happens with foot problems. Hammertoe happens when the middle joint of your toe is stuck in a bent position. This is due to an imbalance between the muscle and ligament that surrounds the middle joint. Any toe can be affected by it. People with circulation problems or diabetes can become seriously impacted by a hammertoe and therefore should take special care to seek our Phoenix foot doctor if any difficulties occur. Other common causes of hammertoe besides genetics and bunions are arthritis and toe injuries. If your toe can still move freely, more comfortable shoes may be recommended possibly accompanied by orthotics. This will work to relieve the pressure on the foot and reduce the pain involved. Stretching and strength building exercise can also be a good idea. Surgery may be a last resort if other methods prove ineffective.

Hammertoe Surgery Phoenix
4901 N. 44th St #102
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Phoenix Podiatrist

Podiatrist 85018

Here at Desert Foot Surgeons, our Phoenix podiatrist and the rest of our staff have plenty of experience in treating patients with diabetes. Diabetes often leads to complications involving the feet, and so it is important to have a professional like our Phoenix podiatrist available to you should any foot problems arise as a result of your diabetes. One example of a foot problem associated with diabetes is neuropathy, or nerve damage. Diabetic nerve damage can lessen you ability to feel heat, cold, or even pain in your feet. Neuropathy in the feet is dangerous because you could be walking around on a foot injury without feeling it. In some cases, the foot can become infected because you are unaware of an injury there. Nerve damage can also alter the shape of your feet and toes, in which case the use of therapeutic shoes may be necessary.

Another example of a foot issue associated with diabetes is changes to the skin. For some people, the feet begin to get very dry, and the skin might crack. Calluses are also more common occurrences for people with diabetes, because there are high-pressure areas under the foot. If calluses are not treated properly or build up too much, they can break and turn into open sores, or ulcers. Another common foot issue that our Phoenix podiatrist sees in diabetic patients is a lack of circulation. Decreased circulation makes it difficult for the feet to heal properly. As you can see, there are a number of foot problems that diabetes puts you at risk for. At Desert Foot Surgeons, we put an emphasis on keeping blood sugar levels under control to prevent these and other similar foot problems.

If you are interested in learning more about the various services provided by our Phoenix podiatrist, we encourage you to visit the informative Desert Foot Surgeons website for some additional details. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our services or another related topic, we encourage you to contact our staff for assistance. You can reach us either by phone or online. We look forward to working with you soon here at Desert Foot Surgeons.

Phoenix Diabetic Foot Care
4901 N. 44th St #102
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Plantar Fasciitis Treated Using Stem Cells

Your heel hurts!  It hurts with the first steps out of bed, when you get up from a chair, and when you walk too long.  I gave you advice on stretching, ice, and prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication.  Often times we have to support that unstable arch of yours using custom foot orthoses.  What if your pain is still there?  Injecting steroids in the painful area, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or even surgery are the traditional options remaining.  But what about stem cells?


The sensationalism of advertising and the media would lead you to believe that there are stem cells available for treatment of just about anything.  Is this true?  Lets look at some options:

  1. PRP (platelet rich plasma):  Blood is taken from a vein and spun in a centrifuge to separate the components.  One component would be the platelets and anything else that was relatively heavy circulating in your blood.  Would this include stem cells?  Most likely not!  The platelets contain growth factors which promote healing.  Injecting PRP into your heel would result in a time-release of numerous growth factors that could heal the inflammation that is your plantar fasciitis, thus making you feel better.
  2. Amniotic membrane derived products:  The amniotic membrane protects and covers a growing baby while inside the mother.  The placenta is part of this marvelous structure and is delivered with the baby in normal, healthy childbirth.  For this reason there is no controversy about using the placenta, as it would only be discarded if not used.  Placenta blood has long been known to contain stem cells used to treat leukemia and other illnesses.  Scientific studies have shown that there are cells very similar to stem cells in the placenta.  If you inject cells that were taken from a placenta, your body would not reject them because they are so immature.  Injecting the stem cells into an area of inflammation would in theory be able to heal the structure that is damaged or inflamed.  It has yet to be proven, but seems very promising that injecting these amnion derived products into your heel would completely resolve your plantar fasciitis.
  3. Bone marrow:  Time tested and proven, the bone marrow is the ultimate source of stem cells.  Unfortunately this requires a surgical procedure that can be painful and quite expensive.  This is probably not a reality in treating heel pain.

Now here is the kicker.  Because the scientific literature is not complete regarding using stem cells to treat plantar fasciitis, these treatments are not covered by your insurance.  That means you would have to pay for them.  These treatments are so new that not all physicians can provide them.  At Desert Foot Surgeons, we continue to advance as treatments become available.  If you have heel pain that has not responded to treatment, stem cells may be an option for you.

Happy New Year! Resolutions Can Lead to Sore Feet.

Excitement is at its peak!  Time to get those new running shoes out from beneath the tree and begin your New Year’s Resolution.  That first run of the new year feel soooo good!  So much so that the following day you might run longer or faster.  Then it begins.  You wake up to sore muscles.  There might be a stiffness or sharp pain in your heels lasting just long enough to get your attention, but then it goes away.  Because it is your new year’s resolution you continue to work through it only to get increasingly sore and stiff.

By February your heels are so sore, toes and ankles are stiff, muscles ache so much that you don’t want to run or work out today.  The next day you might return, but then the soreness is back.  People at work are noticing a slight limp.  You are thinking about skipping more and more days of exercise.  So much for that resolution.  I have been there and know how to get through it.

As I always say, “Normal feet don’t hurt!  If you have pain, get them checked out.” Let me help you get back to exercising at the level you desire.  Desert Foot Surgeons works with high level athletes and the casual weekend warrior.  We differ from other offices in our team approach.  Your needs and goals are a key component of treatment.  This is personalized foot care and Desert Foot Surgeons is the only place you will find it.

Happy New Year!  Don’t become another statistic.  Let us get you exercising at the level you desire.

Affordable Care Act: What it means for my practice.


In January of 2014 the Affordable Care Act will supposedly begin to have an effect on the practice of medicine in the United States.  There are numerous blogs and posts on the internet about how to best prepare for this event as a consumer and physician.  I find this interesting since no one really knows how this will effect medical payments to physicians, hospitals, outpatient facilities, and pharmacies.  There has been no communication with physicians about joining some “Obamacare” network of providers.  There is no insurance plan to participate with under this Act.  The huge internet failure was said to be due to the number of people signing up for the Affordable Care Act Plan.  I have one comment about that:  this Act was made to help something like 20 million Americans that do not have access to health care.  First of all we have a County Hospital System whose mission it is to provide care to those who do not have insurance, thus providing care to everyone in need.  As a physician working part-time in a Community Health District/County Hospital System I can tell you that most of these 20 million Americans lacking access to health care do not have a computer.  The people this Act was designed to help are not the ones who are signing up.  I’m not even going into the mental health issues that plague this population and prevents them from seeking medical care.

So what is going to happen.  I will predict that some physicians will participate with whatever plan develops under the Affordable Care Act and other physicians will not.  Some will accept insurance and some will accept cash for services.  Most of the people in poverty will not sign up for “the plan” because they just won’t know how.  It will not help those it was designed to help and will ultimately fail, in about a decade or two, going back to a similar system to what we have at this time.  What are we going to do about it?  Nothing!  Dr. Geller will still treat patients with foot and ankle deformity and pain.  If surgery is your best option, I will recommend surgery.  If insurance will not allow us to do surgery I will work with you to resolve your problem the best we can.  Your bunions and hammertoes will not have to go untreated.  Your heel pain will go away with treatment.

What do I recommend you do about this?  Wait!!  You should never be the first to sign up for an experimental plan.  Wait it out and see what becomes of the Affordable Care Act before you change.  Six months, a year, whatever works best for you.  Desert Foot Surgeons will still be here to help you with your foot care needs.

Ankle Sprain, Don’t Just Walk It Off


A nice article about ankle sprains with the position statement from The National Athletic Trainer’s Association.

If you have ever suffered an ankle sprain and thought you could take care of it on your own, think again.  Good information here:

Relieving Pain in Patients with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Given the limitations of pharmacotherapy options for treating painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy, practitioners are also considering the merits of cognitive therapy, orthotic management, and combination therapies to relieve patients’ pain.