Bone & Joint Pain FAQs

Bone and joint pain can raise a lot of questions. Well, we are here to answer them. Read the most common questions we get at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute below!
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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What are the symptoms of a midfoot fracture?

    You may have heard the term “Lisfranc fracture” while watching sports, as athletes are sometimes sidelined by this injury that occurs in the bones in the middle of your foot. Such an injury can involve just one bone or many, with symptoms of swelling and pain on top of the foot (and sometimes discoloration and distortion) and bruising on the bottom. Depending on the severity of the midfoot fracture, standing and walking may be difficult, and in fact, you may not be able to bear weight on the injured foot at all. In this case, crutches will be required during recovery.

    If you notice these painful symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute in Round Rock or Cedar Park, TX to get the help you need. You can reach us by using our online contact form or by calling (512) 593-2949 to schedule an appointment so we can get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

  • How does a fracture differ from a break?

    While both stress fractures and “full” or “regular” breaks describe fractures in bone, they vary in terms of type and severity of the break, as well as the usual causes.

    “Regular” fractures are what you normally think of when you imagine someone “breaking a bone.” They usually occur as a result of a single traumatic injury, causing instant, severe pain. There are many different types of breaks; depending on severity, the bone may be cracked, cleanly split, or even shattered, and the bones may remain in place (stable fracture), be displaced, or even pierce the skin (open compound fracture).

    Stress fractures are different. While they do represent cracks in bone, they’re typically very small, hairline fractures in weight-bearing areas. Rather than being caused by a single injury, they usually develop over time due to overuse and stress, and lead to an aching pain the worsens with activity and may improve with rest.

    Dr. Keith McSpadden and the staff at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute have experiencing helping patients with both types of injuries, and will be happy to help you, too. Call us at 512-593-2949 for sports injury care for your feet and ankles, or request an appointment online.

  • What is Freiberg's Disease?

    Frieberg’s disease is a relatively uncommon foot condition that can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in your forefoot near the second toe, especially during periods of physical activity.

    In this condition, bone tissue at the head of your second metatarsal (near the base of your toe) develops micro fractures and begins to die due to an insufficient blood supply, a process called avascular necrosis. Blood supply can be restricted for various reasons; Frieberg’s disease is particularly common among physically active teenaged girls and young women since high heeled shoes, repetitive trauma, and an abnormally long metatarsal (often brought on by sudden growth spurts) can cut off circulation to the metatarsal head.

    Left untreated, the bone can flatten and even collapse, so it’s best to seek treatment as soon as you experience the symptoms. You can set up an appointment with Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute by calling 512-593-2949 today.

  • How can I ease bunion pain?

    When the bony bump on your big toe is causing discomfort, not to worry - there are several things you can do to ease bunion pain. Ice and anit-inflammatory medication are both helpful, in addition to stretches -- like pulling your big toe into proper alignment and holding it there for a count of ten. Toe spacers and night splint that hold your toe in place can do wonders to reduce painful symptoms, as well as slow the progression of your protruding bone. Making sure your shoes have plenty of wiggle room for your toes and using orthotic inserts to take pressure away from the joint can go a long way toward alleviating pain, too. Finally, you can use pads to protect and cushion the area, or try a soothing foot soak at day's end.

    If these conservative methods are not enough to ease bunion pain, call us to discuss other options, including surgical intervention. You can reach our Cedar Park or Round Rock, TX office by calling (512) 593-2949, or by using our online contact form.

  • What can I expect after bunion surgery?

    Knowing what to expect after bunion surgery helps you prepare and eases your mind. You will have stitches and your foot will be wrapped to help protect the area and keep your toe in proper position. Take care to keep your stitches and dressing dry. When you are bathing, keep your foot away from the water or cover it with a plastic bag. This period can last 1-3 weeks until it's determined that stitches can be removed.

    Elevating your foot as much as possible helps minimize swelling, and you must not put weight on the foot. You might have to wear a walking boot, cast, or splint to help with this, and a brace to keep your toe in alignment. The severity of your bunion, the type of procedure you've had, and how well the healing process is going will determine when you can wear normal shoes again. (Hint: follow after care instructions closely and don't try to do too much too soon!)

    Medication can help with inflammation and pain, and eventual physical therapy will help to restore mobility and function.

    For more information, we welcome you to call (512) 593-2949 and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.

  • What is the recovery time for bunion surgery?

    In most cases, patients are back into their tennis shoes 4-5 weeks after surgery. Also, patients are generally starting back into exercise 6-8 weeks after bunion surgery.

  • Can bunions be treated with orthotics?

    No. Orthotics may change the position of the foot, which may temporarily relieve pain. However, orthotics will not correct a bunion.

  • Why is reconstructive surgery necessary? Can't you just shave the bump?

    Historcially, many surgeons would just "shave the bump" with a surgical saw, without realigning the great toe joint. The problem with this method is the recurrence rate is significantly higher, so there is a greater chance your bunion pain could come back. By utilizing reconstructive surgery, the deformity can be corrected, while properly aligning the great toe joint. This allows for a more predictable and longer lasting outcome.