Frequently Asked Questions

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  • How long does it take to recover from Achilles tendon surgery?

    The full recovery process from an Achilles tendon surgery can vary in length depending on a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury, the type of surgery selected, the skill of the surgeon, your overall physical health, your dedication to following instructions for post-operative care, and more. In other words, your mileage may vary.

    In terms of being able to return to weight-bearing activity without needing a cast or walking boot, a typical timeline is roughly six weeks. However, this is not the same thing as a “full recovery.” You’ll still likely need some exercise and physical therapy to restore strength and range-of-motion to pre-injury levels, and you’ll still need time before you can make a return to “full activity,” including vigorous running or sports participation. Six months is a reasonable timeframe here, although that may be faster for healthy patients who are disciplined with rehab.

    Despite the length of recovery time, surgery is often the best choice for the long-term health and happiness of patients who suffer an Achilles rupture. To see if surgery is right for you, please contact Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute at 512-593-2949.

  • How can I recover from surgery quicker?

    Whenever a surgical procedure is necessary to treat a condition, it is only natural to want to recover from the process as soon as possible. If you want to recover from surgery quickly, the best place to start is to follow our instructions. Too many patients disregard doctor orders, or only follow some of them, when simply following them would lead to a quicker recovery process.

    Beyond taking our advice and recommendations, discussing the procedure with us beforehand and asking as many questions as you need will help you prepare for your post-surgical recovery time. This will also help as you make plans for your discharge, like ensuring you have a ride if one is needed.

    If you or any of your loved ones require a surgical procedure to treat an existing condition or injury, North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute is here to help. We will always attempt to use nonsurgical treatment methods first, but sometimes surgery is the best course of action to restore mobility and eliminate pain. Contact our practice today through our online form or by calling our Cedar Park office at (512) 593-2949 or our Round Rock, TX office at (512) 960-4290.

  • Does bunion surgery leave a scar?

    A certain amount of scarring is normal after bunion surgery, particularly if more extensive procedures need to be employed. Our No. 1 goal is to get your feet working again without pain—if a larger surgery with more potential for scarring is warranted, that’s what we’ll recommend.

    That said, scarring after bunion surgery is generally quite minimal, especially when Dr. McSpadden is your surgeon. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, he is highly trained in minimal incision surgical techniques—smaller incisions mean faster healing and less scarring. Second, he is also trained in plastic surgery techniques (such as intracuticular sutures, skin flaps, and skin grafts) and frequently incorporates them into his procedures to achieve an ideal cosmetic result.

    We understand that, while your (and our) top concern is pain relief and return to activity, you also want to look your best! That’s why we work hard to minimize the amount of scarring associated with surgery. To learn more or set up an appointment, please give us a call at (512) 593-2949.

  • Can I still run with shin splints?

    Unfortunately, we strongly discourage continuing to run while suffering from a case of shin splints. Because it is an overuse injury, continuing to run will only delay healing or make the problem worse. Your body needs time to heal and repair itself without incurring additional stresses.

    However, this doesn’t mean you need to cease all activity. While your feet and legs will need a break from the constant pounding of running, you can switch to forms of low-impact exercise to keep your heart rate and fitness up. Go for a swim, walk, or bike ride instead, or try strength training. Furthermore, once you’re cleared to return to running, you may wish to continue mixing these low-impact activities into your routine while reducing your weekly mileage. This will allow you to cross-train multiple muscle groups and avoid overstressing any one particular area.

    If you’re struggling with painful shin splints as a result of running, please contact North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute for an evaluation and discussion of treatment options. You can request an appointment online, or call 512-593-2949.

  • How can I best avoid a sports injury?

    There’s no way to protect yourself 100% from a potential sports injury—unfortunately, the risk of getting hurt is a necessary consequence of living a healthy, active lifestyle. However, you can minimize your risk by making smart choices about …

    • ... your equipment. Shoes should fit well, be designed for your activity, provide plenty of support and cushioning, and be in good repair. Use orthotics or inserts if you need them. Invest in good protective gear for your sport.
    • … your intensity. Don’t go too hard, too fast if you’re starting up a new sport or just getting back into action after a long period on the sidelines. Know your own limits and start slowly, gradually increasing your intensity over time. Take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
    • … your routine. Whether you’re a rookie or a pro, always take the time to warm up, stretch, and cool down. Mix high-impact and low-impact exercise that target different areas of your body on different days to avoid over-stressing any particular muscles or bones.

    If your feet or ankles are aching, please call Dr. Keith McSpadden in Austin, TX for a consultation and treatment. Our staff is passionate about keeping you healthy and active at all stages of life. Request an appointment online, or call 512-593-2949.

  • What is turf toe?

    Turf toe is, in simple terms, a sprain of the big toe. Just as an ankle sprain is caused by tearing or damage to the ligaments that align and support your ankle, turf toe is caused by damage to the ligaments supporting the base of the toe. This could be caused by a single serious hyperextension of the toe, or from repeated smaller impacts.

    The injury gets its name from its popular association with athletes playing sports on artificial turf, but in truth any sport or activity on any surface that involves lots of running, cutting, jumping, or push-offs (including soccer, basketball, gymnastics, dance, or wrestling) puts you at elevated risk.

    With a turf toe injury, it’s important to immediately stop playing, avoid bearing weight on the affected toe, and make an appointment with Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute. We don’t want you causing extra damage to the ligaments, and we want to help you heal as quickly and fully as possible so you can get back in the game. Request an appointment online, or give us a call at 512-593-2949 today.

  • Why is the ball of my foot swollen?

    A number of factors can contribute to pain and swelling in the balls of your feet. Getting to the bottom of it usually requires both a physical examination and a brief chat with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and activities.

    Common causes or underlying factors in the development of ball of foot pain and swelling include wearing improper shoes for your activities, overtraining or too much impact exercise with adequate rest periods in between, certain foot shapes such as high arches or even extra-long second toes, and obesity. You may also have a more serious or more complicated condition beyond simple soft tissue swelling, such as stress fracture or a neuroma. An examination and any necessary tests will be needed to know for sure.

    Finding the right cause is important, so that we can match you with the right treatment. For help with your ball of foot pain, call Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute today at 512-593-2949.

  • Do children grow out of having flat feet?

    Many young children (toddler age and a little older) have what’s known as flexible flatfoot—they may have an arch in their feet when they sit, but it flattens when they stand.

    In the majority of cases—8 or 9 out of 10—flat feet in kids will resolve by around age 6. As they grow, bones get harder, muscles and tendons tighten, and the arch becomes more rigid, no longer flattening under the force of their body weight.

    However, some kids do not grow out of the condition and carry flat feet through to adulthood. If you notice your older child still has flat feet—especially if there are any signs of pain or discomfort—bring them to Dr. Ketih McSpadden or North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute for an evaluation. You can reach us by calling 512-593-2949 for an appointment in Cedar Park or Round Rock, TX.

  • What causes sore arches?

    Sore arches can be caused by a wide variety of factors. If you have high arches or flat feet—especially flat feet that occurs later in life due to falling arches—you may be more susceptible to pain and soreness in this area than others, but it’s far from a prerequisite.

    Although plantar fasciitis is commonly thought of primarily as a form of heel pain, it is also a common cause of sore arches as well. That’s because the plantar fascia supports your arch as it runs all the way from your heel to your toes. 

    Other sources of discomfort may include stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in bones caused by repeated small impacts and overuse, arthritis, tendon sprains, muscle strains, and other injuries and conditions. Biomechanical issues like an abnormal gait, poor posture, or obesity may also put excess stress on your arches or prevent them from playing their shock absorption role properly.

    As you might imagine, a proper treatment plan will depend on a correct diagnosis of the underlying cause. Call Keith McSpadden, DPM at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute for an appointment today by dialing (512) 593-2949.

  • How are pigeon toes corrected?

    In terms of professional treatment, the truth is that most cases of children walking with pigeon toes—known more formally as intoeing—do not receive any treatment at all, because most cases do not require it. This relatively common gait abnormality almost always corrects itself in time as your child grows, and traditional methods that were thought to speed the process—bracing, for example—have not been proven effective.

    The best “treatment” is to take your child in for an initial evaluation once you notice pigeon-toed walking (this is to rule out rare underlying conditions that do require treatment), but otherwise simply to watch your child closely and let nature run its course. If your child is learning to walk, run, and play along normal development timetables and shows no sign of unsteadiness or discomfort, there’s nothing to worry about.

    If, however, you observe the pigeon toes getting more severe as time goes on, any pain or discomfort, difficulty walking, delayed development, or a lack of improvement by the time reaches 6 years of age or so, take them in to see Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute. You can reach us by dialing 512-593-2949.