Podiatrist in Scottsdale

Hammertoes in Scottsdale

Podiatrist in Scottsdale

Podiatrist in Scottsdale

Many of our patients at Desert Foot Surgeons have come to our podiatrist in Scottsdale treatment for hammertoes. Our approach revolves around paying attention to all the details of the body, not to just the problematic part. We view the person as a sum of all the body parts. For example, we will not treat just the hammertoe as a foot problem, but we will address other aspects of the body which have a correlation. This allows us to treat the whole body, not just the foot or the toes. We can treat the problem at the core, not just take away the symptoms of it.

Foot pain can be caused by many different things, and not all sources of foot pain are due to injury. Hammertoe, for example, is a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toes that will require foot care. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. A hammertoe develops because of an abnormal balance of the muscles in the toes. This abnormal balance causes increased pressures on the tendons and joints of the toe, leading to its contracture. If pain persists, it is vital you visit our podiatry office for hammertoe treatment. The treatment options vary with the type and severity of each hammertoe, although identifying the deformity early in its development is important to avoid surgery. Our podiatrist in Scottsdale will examine the affected area and recommend a treatment plan specific to your condition. Padding and taping may be the only treatment that’s required if your hammertoe is not severe. Medication and orthotic devices may also be recommended and prescribed by our podiatrist. However, if left untreated, hammertoes tend to become rigid and inflexible, making non-surgical treatment less of an option. If this is the case, for less severe deformities, the surgery will remove the bony prominence and restore normal alignment of the toe joint, thus relieving pain. Severe hammertoes, which are not fully reducible, may require more complex surgical procedures.

If you would like to learn more about our podiatry office or our podiatrist in Scottsdale, we highly recommend that you visit our practice’s main website to browse through some additional, detailed information that you might find useful. If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding hammertoe treatment or any of our other procedures, please do not hesitate to contact the staff here directly. By visiting Desert Foot Surgeons for your hammertoe treatment and foot care, you’ll be one step closer to having healthy and happy feet, ankles, and legs.

2222 E. Highland Ave, Suite 206
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(602) 490-8166

Reconstructive Foot Surgeon in Phoenix

Phoenix foot surgery

Reconstructive foot surgeon in Phoenix

Reconstructive foot surgeon in Phoenix

Have you been suffering with pain at the back of your foot, around the heel? If so, you should see our foot doctor regarding care of your foot pain. It may be that you should have reconstructive rear foot surgery as a way to get rid of this painful condition forever. If you are interested in seeing a reconstructive foot surgeon in Phoenix, you should see our doctor at Desert Foot Surgeons.

At Desert Foot Surgeons, our reconstructive foot surgeon in Phoenix is Dr. Stephen Geller. Dr. Geller is an expert and highly-trained foot surgeon. He is able to treat the most challenging foot problems. He often treats athletes with foot pains, and patients with diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and victims of strokes and blood clot complications. He takes on many surgical patients that other doctors may feel are too difficult to treat. Our entire staff works together to make sure that you get the special tests, care, and after surgical treatment that you may need. When you need to be treated by a reconstructive foot surgeon in Phoenix, you can do no better than to come to our foot surgery practice for comprehensive treatment and care.

Our reconstructive foot surgeon in Phoenix is an expert at treating patients who need to have reconstructive rear foot surgery. This type of surgery will cure pain that is being felt in the ankle or heel. Our surgery will help alleviate pain, or reduce any deformity your foot may be affected by. This reconstructive rear foot surgery will also help you restore function to your foot. There are many conditions that can affect the rear of the foot. Luckily, you will not always need surgery to resolve these problems, and surgery should never be a first choice of treatments. However, when other treatment methods do not work, or it is clear that surgery is the only way to resolve the problem, Dr. Geller and his team of experts will be able to provide you with the treatment that you need. For example, foot surgery may be needed for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs when conventional treatments do not offer pain relief. If you are suffering from chronic heel pain, contact our office for a consultation. There is no reason to have to go through the rest of your life with your painful heel or ankle problem.

2222 E. Highland Ave, Suite 206
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Foot Pain Treatment in Phoenix

Foot Pain Treatment

At Desert Foot Surgeons, Dr. Stephen Geller, DPM, is double board certified in primary podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery and explains how orthotics can be used for a wide variety of foot pain treatment in Phoenix. Orthotics can also be used to treat pain associated with ankle, leg, knee, hip and back pain as well. The majority of people think of orthotics as just arch supports that are used in treating flat feet. Orthotic therapy does help support the arch and is definitely used in the treatment of flat feet and foot pain, but the effectiveness of orthotic therapy goes far beyond that.

Foot Pain Treatment in Phoenix

Foot Pain Treatment in Phoenix

Basically, an orthotic is a device that fits into your shoes in order to reposition and re-balance your feet relative to the ground. With many of our patients, Dr. Geller has used orthotic therapy as a simple way to fix some lower extremity issues, eliminating the need for more aggressive therapies, including surgery. We use orthotics as a way to treat many foot and leg problems as part of our foot pain treatment in Phoenix. With orthotic therapy, the orthotic device repositions your feet and it is this change in step that will lessen or eliminate your foot pain. In most cases, however, if you stop wearing the orthotics your specific foot pain will most likely return. Many of our patients have an imbalance in the way they walk and it is this unevenness that causes the pain. Orthotic therapy remedies the imbalance and your foot pain is lessened.

Orthotics come in several varieties and often referred to as shoe inserts or insoles. There are many varieties and brands available at drugstores and supermarkets but actual medical problems can’t be remedied with these generic inserts. Therefore, a custom orthotic from Desert Foot Surgeons is necessary. These “medical grade orthotics” are for those patients who need more than just an arch support and will only benefit from prescription grade materials adjusted to the specific height of your arch. When a prescription orthotic is made, there will most likely be things built into it that attempt to re-balance your foot’s position, instead of just trying to support your arch. To make a prescription orthotic, the shape of the foot has to be “captured”, using plaster of paris molds of your feet. As messy as this process can be, Dr. Geller feels it can be an essential part of certain foot pain treatment in Phoenix.

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

How To Care For Your Feet In The Summer

Whether you’re walking on the beach, wandering your local park or enjoying your own backyard, going barefoot is one of the simple pleasures of summertime.

But bare feet need to beware. Cuts, puncture wounds and other barefoot injuries are waiting to happen.

To keep yourself and your feet safe this summer, keep reading!


A puncture wound can embed unsterile foreign objects deep inside your foot and trap bacteria.

A puncture wound must be cleaned properly and monitored throughout the healing process. This will help to avoid complications, such as tissue and bone infections or damage to tendons and muscles in the foot. You should see your podiatrist, or if it is after-hours, go the emergency room. Do not delay in getting care.

Apply Sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet. Many people are surprised to learn that skin cancer, including the most serious form, melanoma, does occur on the feet. In fact, melanoma of the foot is very dangerous because people rarely think to look for it on their feet which may result in a later-stage diagnosis. If you see any odd marks or unusual blemishes on your feet, be sure to see your podiatrist.

In Phoenix where our temperatures are well over 105 all summer, burns injuries to the soles of the feet may occur.  Protect your feet from hot surfaces especially concrete, pavement, stones, and pool decking.  If you develop a burn noted by redness, blistering, or worse breaks in the skin see your podiatrist without hesitation.  For weekend or after hour injuries go the emergency room.


Wear flip-flops or sandals around swimming pools, locker rooms and beaches. It’s best to keep your feet protected to avoid cuts and abrasions from rough surfaces and sharp objects hidden beneath sandy beaches and to prevent contact with bacteria, fungus or viruses that can cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts or other problems.

Inspect your feet and your children’s feet for skin problems. Going barefoot can increase your risk for athlete’s foot, warts, calluses and other skin problems. Inspect your feet (and your kids) regularly for any changes or signs of problems. The earlier a skin condition is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Sadly, every year, people lose toes while mowing the lawn barefoot. Others suffer serious burns from accidentally stepping on stray campfire coals.. Murky rivers, lakes and ponds can conceal sharp objects underwater.

People with diabetes should never go barefoot, even indoors, because their nervous system may not “feel” an injury and their circulatory system will struggle to heal breaks in the skin.

Remember, any type of foot or ankle pain is never normal. A podiatrist can examine your feet and give you the best course of action.

Peripheral Neuropathy: Treatment is Like Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Do you know that feeling when your leg falls asleep?  Some people refer to this as pins and needles or burning.  If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy then you know this feeling all too well.  Imagine the end of the day thinking you finally get to relax and forget all about the stresses of work, kids, the economy, but when you begin to relax your feet or even your legs begin to burn or having that feeling like they are asleep.  Some people describe the feeling of bugs crawling on their legs.  Either way it is hard to relax with this going on.

“Neuropathy” means nerve damage.  My initial impression of how to treat peripheral neuropathy was rather simple.  Something injured the nerve, find it, fix it, and the nerve gets better, right?  Wrong!  Nerves are tricky, very complex, yet very sensitive to injury.  Some of the more common nerve injuries that are linked to peripheral neuropathy include compression such as a bulging disc in your low back or carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrist, infections such as HIV or hepatitis, organ failure such as kidney or liver disease, poor blood flow, diseases such as Diabetes or autoimmune conditions, many medicines and drugs especially alcohol, and even poor nutrition causing vitamin deficiencies.  Put it this way:  there are about 150 known causes of neuropathy, which means there are at least another 150 causes we have yet to discover.

Finding the cause is like looking for a needle in a haystack.  There are so many potential causes and they can overlap.  A patient can have Diabetes, low thyroid, and degenerative disc disease in their low back, all of which can cause nerve damage.  Which one are you going to blame for that burning, tingling, and numbness in your feet?  Well, we try to blame it on the cause that is treatable.  This patient in my example can control their Diabetes, take thyroid hormone supplement, and their back can be fixed.  What if the burning and tingling in their feet remains?  In that case we now call the nerve damage, “idiopathic neuropathy”.  Basically a big word that means we really have no idea what is causing this nerve damage.

The next option is to treat the symptoms of neuropathy and I’m sorry to say that pain medications (narcotics) do not work for neuropathy pain!  There are older treatments such as anti-depressants and newer derivatives such as Cymbalta.  We can use medications aimed at preventing seizures in low dose like Gabapentin or Pregabalin.  There are the often overlooked physical therapy treatments such as electrical stimulation, counter-irritants such as Capsaicin or Biofreeze.  The treatment grows like a pyramid with more specific and more complex treatments at the top.  Anything above what I have already mentioned would best be prescribed by a Neurologist.  That’s the nerve specialist.

So what’s the take home message about neuropathy?  See your doctor, don’t wait!  Since I am a podiatrist at Desert Foot Surgeons, I am often the first to see a patient about these nerve complaints.  The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to fix.

Heel Pain Treatments: The Basics, part 3 Arch Support

Did you know that in 1949 Joe DiMaggio missed the first 65 games of the season because of heel pain?  Officially it was called “an inflamed right heel”, but now we know it was plantar fasciitis.  Unfortunately for Joltin’ Joe, there was not a lot known about plantar fasciitis or heel pain.  Arch supports did not exist at that time.

If you suffer from pain in the heel of your foot, you can relate to what “the greatest player in major league baseball” was going through back in 1949.  That searing pain when you stand up after resting, improving as you get going on your feet, only to return later in the day.  Just when you think you’ve beaten the pain, it comes back.

In this series I have already described the treatment of plantar fasciitis as a pyramid with the base supporting all higher levels.  Basic treatment includes ice, stretching, and arch supports.  The ice is used to help alleviate inflammation, because as I always say, you can’t heal until the inflammation is gone.  Gentle stretching helps the over-worked muscles in your foot work more efficiently and stop hurting.  Flexible strength is what stretching achieves.

Arch supports come in numerous forms.  There are those that you see at flea markets or even in the grocery store.  You can stand on a plate in a store and the “magic” computer will tell you the best insole for your foot, as if the computer can tell what the problem you are having with your foot.

The types of arch supports I use at Desert Foot Surgeons come in 2 forms.  I like to relate these two types to eye glasses.  There are reading glasses and there are prescription lenses made for your eyes and only your eyes.  We have the same thing for your feet.  You can get off-the-shelf arch supports or custom made foot orthoses.

Off-the-shelf arch supports:

These shoe inserts are not made to anyone in particular’s foot.  There is modest arch support to fit a wide range of arch heights comfortably and the materials allow some shock absorption so they do not push too firmly into your arch.  These off-the-shelf arch supports are less expensive than custom molded and are often used as an initial step in the treatment of heel pain.


Custom molded foot orthoses:

Custom foot orthoses are made to your feet specifically.  The mold has to be taken with your foot held in a very specific position, known as neutral subtalar joint with the midtarsal joint locked.  This can be done with a digital scanning device or plaster casting, but it cannot be achieved if there is any weight or pressure on your foot.  The prescription has to be written based upon a detailed exam that involves the effect of your hip, knee, and ankle on your foot, how your foot is aligned and moves, and then how your foot hits the ground standing and walking.  The materials used to make a custom orthotic depends upon the shoes you want to wear them in.  This involves a discussion between you and me.  This is the Desert Foot Surgeons difference.  I talk to you, exam you sitting, standing, and walking.  Video gait analysis is done to see what the naked eye cannot in order to get you the best custom foot orthotic possible.

That’s the basic treatment of heel pain.  Most of these you can try before going to see a doctor so that a solid foundation will have been established upon which more advanced treatment can be added.  Your time spent with the podiatrist will be more efficient because basic treatment will have been done and you will get better sooner.  Remember:  ice, stretching, and arch support.  It all starts there!

Heel Pain Treatments: The Basics part 2, Stretching

Are you afraid of that sharp, searing pain in your heel when you get out of bed?  How about if you’ve been sitting for a while then try to get up?  That pain in the heel of your foot is no fun.  The official diagnosis is plantar fasciitis, which affects millions of people everyday.  Remember the problem involves inflammation of the muscles in your foot and those muscles all begin at the heel.  Why do these muscles become inflamed?  Some people’s feet work too hard.  The muscles are always tight and eventually get irritated or inflamed.

The treatment of plantar fasciitis is like building a pyramid.  The base has to be strong to support all higher levels.  In part one I talked about ice.  This is the beginning of relieving inflammation.  The next step is gently stretching these inflamed muscles.


Flexible strength is a big word in fitness.  What it means is that muscles that remain stretched are stronger than muscles that are always tight.  This is a huge part of avoiding injury, so stretching is key to keeping yourself healthy.  Since plantar fasciitis involves tight and over-worked muscles it makes sense that you need to stretch them in order to make the pain go away.  The actual muscles in your foot are difficult to stretch on their own, but if you stretch your calf muscles, you will actually help these foot muscles more than if you try to stretch your toes.

The stretch is known as a “runner’s stretch”.  The goal is to stretch your calf muscle more specifically known as the gastrocnemius muscle.  Stand about 2 feet away from a wall you are facing with your feet shoulders width apart.  Put your hands straight out in front of you at shoulder height and touch the wall.  If you can’t touch the wall you are too far away.  This is a one foot at a time stretch.  For argument sake, move your right foot back a little and your left foot forward a bit.  Now you are going to be stretching the right leg.  It is very important to make certain that the toes of your right foot are pointing straight at the wallIf your foot turns away from your body (out), you can injure your foot.  Keep your right heel on the ground, right knee straight, and bend your left knee slightly as you slightly bend your elbows and lean into the wall.  You will feel stretch in your calf.  If you feel stretch any place other than your calf, STOP, reposition yourself as described above.  Hold the stretch for a count of 30 seconds then change feet.  Repeat the stretch 3 times per day.  That’s it, just 3 minutes per day.

To make that horrible morning pain go away you can use a frozen water bottle or small foam roller.  Place the bottle on the floor while you are seated.  Rest your arch on the bottle (wear a sock if using the frozen water bottle) and roll for 30 minutes.  Don’t push hard, just allow the weight of your leg to do the work.  Do this as close to going to bed as possible.


Heel Pain Treatments: The Basics part 1, Ice

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Lao-tzu from “The Way of Lao-tzu”

Pain in the heel of your foot can be frustrating.  As long as you keep moving the pain stays away, but when you stop for  while and try to get up again it feels like something just stuck you in the foot.  I can assure you that you are not alone.  This is the most common complaint I see at Desert Foot Surgeons.  The official diagnosis is called plantar fasciitis.  What this means is that the muscles in your foot become inflamed where they attach to your heel bone.  Why these muscles become inflamed involves tightness in your Achilles tendon, how your foot reacts when it hits the ground, a change in shoes, activities, or an injury.  Some people can have a heel spur, but the problem is still plantar fasciitis.

The treatment of plantar fasciitis is like building a pyramid.  You must first form a solid foundation at the base and then progress upward.  It’s the base of treatment I want to tell you about today.  The basic treatment of all plantar fasciitis includes three steps:  ice, stretching, and arch support.


Remember what I always say to my patients at Desert Foot Surgeons, “You can’t heal until the inflammation is gone.”  I’ve discussed ice in many other posts on this site.  The general rule is apply the ice for 20 minutes and leave the ice off for 40 minutes.  As long as you stay with this basic rule you may repeat as many times as you want.  Some people need to have a sock on their foot in order to tolerate the ice, others do not.  That’s an individual decision and I would say that if in doubt wear a sock.  Ice can be applied in three forms:  the store bought gel pack, ice massage using a small paper cup filled with water and frozen, or a frozen water bottle.  In the case of heel pain the ice bag is placed on the ground and you put your heel on the bag for 20 minutes.  The ice massage gets the cold deeper.  You peel the top edge off the paper cup, turn the exposed ice toward your foot and use the paper cup in your hand to push the ice along the arch and heel of your foot for 20 minutes.  The frozen water bottle is best done before bed.  The bottle is placed on the floor, your put your foot on the bottle and roll through your arch for 20 minutes.


Foot Pain, Tendonitis, and Shin Splints: Announcing Another Resource Desert Foot Surgeons Has For You

“You can’t heal until the inflammation is gone!”

If you have heard me say this before than you also know that at Desert Foot Surgeons, I recommend using ice, stretching, and Biofreeze as methods to relieve inflammation.  There are pills I prescribe and shots I can give to relieve inflammation as well, but these can be scary to some people.  Let’s face it, there is a movement away from drugs because we are seeing that continued abuse of some of these medications affects your entire body.  Natural methods to relieve inflammation have been around since man first walked on two feet and anything that has stood the test of time that long has to have some merit.

One thing that makes Desert Foot Surgeons different is that I have always been athletic, working out nearly everyday of the week.  Because of this level of activity I get injured just like you.  I understand how hard it is to make inflammation go away with a busy work schedule, kids, and the various other demands on your life.  Still when you are in pain it means there is inflammation and you can’t heal until the inflammation is gone.  There are a ton of methods to relieve inflammation, and I have tried all of them.  Therapeutic massage, yoga, acupuncture, various relaxation methods (if you know me, you know I’m no good at these), you name it I have probably tried it.  I am always looking for massage therapists and yoga studios to recommend for my patients.

What makes me most excited about the new office location on 44th street and Camelback in Phoenix is the friendships I have made in such a short time with other business owners in the area.  I’m happy to tell you about a business I think will be a huge asset to patients at Desert Foot Surgeons.  I have found you a business that contains all of the things I recommend quite often.  Massage, yoga, spa services.

Spa Lamar is located at 5155 N. Scottsdale Road (480.945.7066).  Services at Spa Lamar include the usual spa services such as hair styling, manicures, and pedicures, plus services that I’ve never been able to find under one roof.  Heidi Lamar has been developing her spa for years and with recent expansions has been able to include a yoga studio and massage therapists in her spa among the pool and hot tub, steam room, and dry sauna.  The first Wednesday night of the month, if you bring a friend, you can enjoy live music and snacks to help with that relaxation that I find so difficult.  What’s best is with the pricey resort spas in the same area, Spa Lamar is truly priced for the locals.  You will not get this level of service at a comparable price anywhere in the area.

When you’re in pain don’t forget:  You Can’t Heal Until The Inflammation is Gone!