It can be hard to know where to turn for reliable information about diagnosing and treating common foot and ankle problems. You can trust our podiatrists to provide the most up-to-date information available when answering Frequently Asked Questions. If the answers you need are not here, please give us a call.

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  • How do I know if I need custom orthotics?

    Walking, running, and standing are everyday activities that people often take for granted. However, for some, these simple actions can become a source of discomfort and pain due to various foot-related problems. Custom orthotics are a solution that can offer relief and improve overall foot health. Consulting our experienced Austin podiatrist is the first step in finding the right orthotic for your unique needs, ensuring that you can walk, run, and stand with comfort and confidence. The benefits of custom orthotics

    Custom Orthotics Can Help With a Variety of Conditions

    When you invest in the proper footwear, it could mean the difference between foot health and an injury or ongoing pain. It’s possible the foot pain you’re experiencing could be caused by your insoles, and custom orthotics can often provide the extra support you need to protect your feet.

    Custom orthotics can help provide relief for many foot, ankle, and leg conditions, including the following:

    Flat Feet

    People with flat feet often experience pain and discomfort because the arch of their foot does not adequately support their body weight. Custom orthotics can provide the necessary arch support, reducing pain and fatigue.

    Plantar Fasciitis

    Plantar fasciitis develops when the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed. Custom orthotics can help distribute pressure more evenly, alleviating pain and discomfort.


    A bunion is a painful bony bump that forms on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe. Because custom orthotics can keep your feet aligned property and help redistribute weight, they provide relief from pain and may stop the condition from worsening.

    Morton's Neuroma

    Morton’s neuroma is the thickening of the tissue around the nerves that lead to the toes, causing pain and numbness. This condition usually affects the ball of your foot between your third and fourth toes. Orthotics can provide cushioning and relieve pressure on the affected area.

    Shin Splints

    A shin splint is an overuse injury that causes pain along the large front bone in the lower leg.  Custom orthotics can help prevent shin splints by providing better arch support and shock absorption during physical activities.

    Benefits of Custom Orthotics

    Whenever you suffer foot or ankle pain, you are often sidelined from enjoying the activities you love most. Custom orthotics offer a wide range of benefits to get you back on your feet, including:

    Pain Relief

    One of the primary benefits of custom orthotics is pain relief. Whether you have foot, knee, or lower back pain, custom orthotics can be used to help reduce discomfort by providing proper support and alignment.

    Improved Posture

    Proper foot alignment through orthotics can help improve your overall posture. When your feet are properly supported, it can have a positive effect on the rest of your body.

    Enhanced Athletic Performance

    Athletes often use orthotics to enhance their performance by reducing the risk of injuries and improving their gait. Custom orthotics can be tailored to your biomechanics to ensure optimal function.

    Preventative Care

    Even if you do not currently have foot issues, custom orthotics can be used as a preventative tool to maintain good foot health and reduce the risk of future problems.

    Reasons to Choose Custom Orthotics

    While over-the-counter orthotics may seem like a convenient solution, custom orthotics from a podiatrist offer several advantages, including:

    Personalized Fit

    Custom orthotics are specifically designed for your feet, taking into account your unique biomechanics, gait, and any existing conditions. This ensures a precise fit that provides optimal support. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, our Fitstation orthotics are created by using Go-4D technology to offer a personalized fit for your specific foot and needs.

    Targeted Support

    Over-the-counter orthotics are generic and may not address your specific needs. Custom orthotics are crafted to target the exact areas that require support or correction.


    Custom orthotics are typically made from higher-quality materials and tend to last longer than over-the-counter orthotics. They are a worthwhile investment in your foot health.

    Professional Guidance

    When you opt for custom orthotics, you will work closely with a podiatrist who can diagnose your condition accurately and provide ongoing guidance for your foot health.

    How Our Austin Podiatrist Can Help

    If you are considering custom orthotics, consult our skilled Austin podiatrist who can assess your specific needs and guide you through the process of getting the right fit. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, we will do the following to ensure you get the right orthotic to address your specific condition and biomechanics:

    • Perform a comprehensive evaluation of your feet and analyze your gait
    • Customize an orthotic for your unique requirements
    • Provide a professional fitting and make any necessary adjustments
    • Offer ongoing care and support to monitor your progress

  • What foot conditions can be treated with MLS laser therapy?

    When foot pain becomes chronic and affects your daily life, finding a safe and effective treatment for relief becomes crucial for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. A technological breakthrough that has shown promising results is Multiwave Locked System (MLS) laser therapy. MLS has been successful in treating various foot conditions. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, our skilled podiatrists can treat a range of foot conditions with MLS laser therapy, so their patients can return to the activities they enjoy. Laser therapy for feet and ankles

    How MLS Laser Therapy Works to Treat Foot Pain

    MLS laser therapy is a non-invasive medical technology that uses low-level laser energy to promote cellular repair and reduce pain and inflammation. MLS lasers emit two synchronized pulses of light at multiple wavelengths, penetrating deep into the tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. MLS laser therapy treats foot pain in the following ways:

    Cellular Healing

    Laser energy stimulates the mitochondria within cells, enhancing their ability to produce energy. This increased energy production accelerates cellular repair and regeneration, aiding in tissue healing.

    Anti-Inflammatory Effects

    MLS lasers reduce inflammation, and this can help minimize pain and reduce swelling in the affected area.

    Pain Reduction

    Laser therapy stimulates the release of endorphins—natural painkillers produced by the body. This helps provide immediate pain relief and improves overall comfort.

    Improved Blood Circulation

    MLS lasers dilate blood vessels, leading to improved circulation in the treated area. Enhanced blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to damaged tissues, further supporting the healing process.

    Foot Conditions Treated With MLS Laser Therapy

    MLS laser therapy has been an effective option for treating a wide range of foot conditions, including the following:

    Plantar Fasciitis

    Plantar fasciitis, a painful yet common foot condition, involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes. It causes heel pain that is often worse after resting. MLS laser therapy reduces inflammation, relieves pain, and promotes tissue repair.

    Achilles Tendinitis

    Achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon that can lead to pain and limited mobility. Laser therapy helps decrease inflammation and speed the healing process.


    MLS lasers can be used to manage the pain and discomfort associated with peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage in the feet common for those with diabetes. In some cases, MLS laser therapy can help damaged nerves recover.


    Laser therapy can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with various types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

    Sports Injuries

    MLS laser therapy is increasingly used by athletes to expedite recovery from sports injuries such as sprained ankles, strained muscles, and ligament tears.


    Laser therapy can provide pain relief for individuals with bunions by reducing inflammation and promoting healing.

    Postoperative Recovery

    After foot surgery, MLS laser therapy can aid in reducing pain and swelling, accelerating the healing process, and improving overall recovery outcomes.

    Advantages of MLS Laser Therapy

    MLS laser therapy offers several advantages over traditional treatment methods for foot conditions. These advantages include:


    Unlike surgery or injections, MLS laser therapy is non-invasive and does not require incisions, needles, or anesthesia. This reduces the risk of complications and downtime.

    Pain Relief Without Medications

    MLS laser therapy provides pain relief without needing medications, eliminating concerns about potential side effects or drug interactions.

    Quick and Convenient

    MLS laser sessions are relatively quick, typically lasting 10 to 15 minutes per treatment. This makes it a convenient option for individuals with busy schedules.

    Minimal Side Effects

    MLS laser therapy has minimal side effects, such as mild warmth or tingling sensations during treatment. There is no risk of scarring or infection.

    Targeted Treatment

    Laser therapy can precisely target the affected area, delivering therapeutic energy directly to the problem site without affecting surrounding tissues.

    Speedy Recovery

    Many patients experience significant pain reduction and improved mobility after just a few MLS laser therapy sessions, leading to a faster recovery and a quicker return to normal activities.

    Long-lasting Benefits

    MLS laser therapy helps alleviate symptoms and promote tissue healing and regeneration. This can lead to long-lasting relief from foot conditions.

    Suitable for Various Age Groups

    MLS laser therapy can treat foot pain in individuals of all age groups, from young athletes to elderly individuals with chronic foot problems.

  • Is Lapiplasty an effective treatment for bunions?

    Bunions are a common foot condition that can cause pain, discomfort, and aesthetic concerns. Traditionally, bunion treatment options ranged from conservative measures such as orthotics and physical therapy to more invasive surgical procedures. However, there has been a significant breakthrough in bunion treatment with the emergence of Lapiplasty 3D Bunion Correction. This innovative technique offered by our Texas podiatrist is an effective treatment option that addresses the root cause of bunions and reduces the risk of reoccurrence. Lapiplasty for bunions

    Understanding Bunion Treatment Options

    Bunions are characterized by a bony bump that forms on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe, leading to the misalignment of the big toe.

    Symptoms of Bunions

    While conservative approaches such as wearing wider shoes, using orthotics, and performing foot exercises can help alleviate symptoms, they often do not address the root cause of the problem. A bunion will not go away on its own, even with conservative treatment.

    How Lapiplasty Can Help

    Lapiplasty is a revolutionary surgical technique designed to not only address the symptoms but also correct the underlying cause of bunions. Unlike traditional types of bunion surgeries that primarily focus on removing the bony bump, Lapiplasty involves a more comprehensive approach. This procedure corrects the three-dimensional misalignment of the metatarsal bone, the long bone connected to the toes, and the phalanx bone, the bone of the big toe. By realigning these bones, Lapiplasty restores the natural anatomy of the foot and prevents the reoccurrence of the bunion.

    Advantages of Lapiplasty Over Traditional Bunion Treatment

    • Less downtime. Lapiplasty allows for a quicker return to weight-bearing activities compared to other techniques that may require longer periods of foot immobilization. This faster recovery can significantly enhance your overall experience and satisfaction, making it possible to return to normal activities in about two weeks compared to nine weeks with traditional surgery.
    • Minimally invasive. The procedure is minimally invasive, resulting in smaller incisions and potentially less post-operative pain and scarring. You can often resume your normal activities sooner, which is a substantial improvement over the prolonged recovery times associated with other types of surgical methods.
    • Safe and effective. Lapiplasty has demonstrated its safety and effectiveness through various clinical studies and real-world experiences. Research has shown that this technique not only provides better correction of the deformity but also reduces the risk of reoccurrence compared to traditional surgeries.
    • Less pain. Those who undergo Lapiplasty tend to experience less pain, have fewer complications, and be more satisfied with the results than with other types of bunion surgeries. Pain from traditional bunion surgery can last for weeks following surgery.

    While this surgery has many advantages, it’s important to know that the procedure may take longer because the three-dimensional correction is a more complex operation. Also, this procedure requires a doctor who has special training and experience in this type of surgery.

    Understanding the Procedure

    Lapiplasty involves several steps to correct the bunion deformity. Before the procedure, your doctor will examine your foot, order imaging studies, assess the extent of the deformity, and plan the correction.

    The procedure itself involves making small incisions around the affected area to access the bones. The metatarsal bone is repositioned and secured using specialized instrumentation. This corrects the bone misalignment. Tiny screws or plates are inserted to stabilize the bones in their corrected position, allowing for proper healing.

    Once the procedure is completed, the incisions are closed using sutures, and the foot is typically immobilized using a boot during the initial healing phase. You will need to follow a rehabilitation protocol, which may include physical therapy, to gradually regain strength and mobility in the treated foot.

    Potential Risks and Complications

    Like any surgical procedure, Lapiplasty is not without risks. It is crucial to have a thorough discussion with your podiatrist to weigh the benefits against the potential risks and make an informed decision. Potential complications may include:

    • Infection
    • Nerve damage
    • Delayed bone healing

  • What foot conditions could make me feel like I’m stepping on a pebble?

    The sensation of stepping on a pebble, even when there is nothing on the ground or in your shoe, can be due to several conditions, including Morton's Neuroma or metatarsalgia. If you are experiencing this symptom in the ball of your foot, it is crucial to seek medical attention from a podiatrist as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. Foot conditions that feel like you're stepping on a pebble

    Foot Conditions That Cause a Pebble-in-Your-Shoe Sensation

    If you have the sensation that you’re walking on a pebble or there’s a stone in your shoe, you may have Morton's Neuroma. This condition affects the nerves between the toes—most commonly the third and fourth toes. It occurs when the tissue surrounding the nerve thickens, causing pain, burning, tingling, and the feeling of a foreign object, like a pebble, under the foot. A neuroma is a common foot problem for women and is often associated with wearing tight, narrow shoes that squeeze the toes together, increasing pressure on the nerves. High-impact activities or repetitive trauma to the feet can also contribute to the development of Morton's Neuroma.

    Metatarsalgia is another condition that can cause a sensation similar to stepping on a pebble and cause pain in the ball of your foot. It is characterized by pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot, specifically around the metatarsal heads, which are the bones that connect the toes to the rest of the foot. Metatarsalgia typically occurs gradually, with pain intensifying over time. Resting the foot may provide temporary relief, while standing, walking, or exercising can exacerbate the discomfort.

    Possible Causes of Metatarsalgia

    • Putting excessive pressure on the forefoot
    • Wearing improper footwear that lacks support and cushioning
    • Participating in high-impact activities such as running or jumping
    • Having a foot deformity such as hammer toe or flat feet
    • Having certain medical conditions such as arthritis of the foot or diabetes
    • Aging and natural wear and tear on the foot

    How a Podiatrist Can Help

    While the sensation of stepping on a pebble may seem minor, it can often indicate an underlying condition that may worsen if left untreated. To diagnose the cause of your symptoms, a podiatrist will perform a thorough exam of your feet and review your medical history. They may also order diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans to get a more detailed view of your foot's structure and to help identify any abnormalities.

    Once the cause of the symptoms is determined, your podiatrist can recommend appropriate treatment options based on your specific condition and needs.

    Possible Non-Invasive Treatments for Morton's Neuroma

    • Changing your footwear to shoes that provide more room for the toes
    • Avoiding walking barefoot
    • Soaking your foot and removing calluses with a pumice stone—however, anyone with diabetes should discuss this treatment with their doctor first
    • Wearing supportive orthotic inserts to reduce pressure on the affected area
    • Using padding or cushions on the ball of your foot to relieve discomfort
    • Having corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain in the ball of your foot

    If conservative measures fail to provide relief, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the affected nerve or release the pressure on it.

    Possible Non-Invasive Treatments for Metatarsalgia

    • Avoid high-impact activities. Making sure you avoid activities that put excessive pressure on your foot can be helpful. For example, tennis, football, basketball, and soccer can exacerbate your symptoms and pain.
    • Footwear changes. Changing your footwear to shoes with a wider toe box and good arch support can help alleviate symptoms.
    • Ice. Applying ice to the affected foot and gently massaging the area can help.
    • Custom orthotics. Using custom orthotics inside your shoes can help redistribute pressure and provide cushioning.
    • Physical therapy. Engaging in physical therapy exercises can stretch and strengthen the foot muscles and improve stability.

    In more severe cases, when conservative treatments are ineffective, surgical intervention may be considered to correct any underlying structural issues contributing to metatarsalgia.

  • What is the difference between hammer toe and claw toe?

    Hammer toe and claw toe are two types of foot deformities that affect the toes, causing them to bend in abnormal positions. Although both conditions share similarities, such as causing discomfort and pain, there are distinct differences between the two, including toe bending patterns and the specific muscles and tendons involved. An experienced podiatrist can help you understand the differences and provide an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Hammer and claw toe

    Differences Between Hammer Toe and Claw Toe

    Hammer toe is a condition characterized by an abnormal bending of one or more toes, typically the second, third, or fourth toes. This deformity causes the affected toe to resemble a hammer, with the middle joint bent downward and the end joint pointing upward. The primary cause of hammer toe is an imbalance in the muscles and tendons that control the toe's movement.

    Causes of Hammer Toe Muscle and Tendon Imbalance

    • Genetics
    • Wearing ill-fitting shoes
    • Foot structure abnormalities
    • Medical conditions, such as arthritis

    Over time, the condition may become more severe, leading to stiffness and restricted movement in the affected toe.

    Like hammer toe, claw toe is a toe deformity. A primary difference from hammer toe is the joint that is affected. Claw toe involves all three joints and causes the toe to bend in a claw-like shape. Unlike hammer toe, which primarily affects the middle joint, claw toe involves the bending of the middle and end joints simultaneously. This gives the toe a claw-like appearance, with the joints bent upward.

    Possible Causes of Claw Toe

    • Muscle imbalances
    • Nerve damage
    • Medical conditions, such as peripheral neuropathy or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
    • Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow, forcing the toes into an unnatural position over time

    Similarities Between Hammer Toe and Claw Toe

    • Pain
    • Discomfort
    • Difficulties walking and wearing shoes

    Both conditions can also lead to problems, such as corns, calluses, and the development of open sores or ulcers, particularly in those with poor circulation or a loss of sensation in their feet.

    Texas Treatments for Hammer Toe and Claw Toe

    If you are experiencing pain or have signs of either hammer toe or claw toe, consult a podiatrist for an evaluation. To accurately diagnose either condition, a podiatrist will conduct a physical exam and may order imaging tests such as an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis.

    Conservative Treatment Options for Hammer Toe and Claw Toe

    • Footwear modifications. Wearing shoes with a wide toe box, low heels, and ample arch support can help alleviate pressure on the toes and promote proper alignment.
    • Toe exercises and stretches. Regularly performing exercises and stretches to strengthen and stretch the muscles and tendons in the toes can help improve flexibility and reduce symptoms.
    • Custom orthotics. Wearing custom orthotics inside your shoes can provide support and relieve pressure on the affected toes.
    • Padding and taping. Using special pads or cushions and applying tape to the toes can help alleviate pain and prevent friction or rubbing against footwear. 
    • Over-the-counter pain medication. Over-the-counter pain medication can be used to help reduce pain and inflammation in the toes.

    Surgery as a Treatment for Hammer Toe and Claw Toe

    In cases where non-surgical treatments are ineffective, or the deformity is severe, surgical intervention may be necessary. The specific surgical procedure will depend on the severity and complexity of the deformity, as well as your overall health and lifestyle. Surgery for hammer toe or claw toe may involve releasing or lengthening the tight tendons and ligaments, removing or repositioning a bone, or fusing joints to correct the toe alignment. The goal of surgery is to reduce pain, rebalance the toe, and make it possible to fit back into your shoes without discomfort.

    Recovery from hammer toe or claw toe surgery typically involves a period of immobilization and the use of assistive devices, such as crutches or a walking boot. Your podiatrist may recommend physical therapy to regain strength and flexibility in the foot.

  • How does a podiatrist treat high arches?

    High arches, also known as pes cavus or cavus foot, is a foot condition characterized by an excessively high arch that doesn’t touch the ground when standing. It is the opposite of having flat feet where there is no visible arch. For some people, having high arches can lead to various foot problems and discomfort. If you think you may have high arches, it's important to seek treatment from a podiatrist right away. With proper care and treatment, you can reduce your risk for further complications and enjoy greater comfort while walking or standing for long periods. Treating high arches

    Understanding High Arches

    People with high arches may have this condition due to a neurological problem, such as cerebral palsy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or spina bifida. It can also be a genetic problem. Because your skeletal makeup and posture are impacted by the way you stand, high arches can create structural problems in your body. For some people, high arches can be very painful.

    Symptoms of High Arches

    • Calluses or corns on the ball, heel, or side of the foot
    • Instability or frequent ankle sprains
    • Difficulty finding shoes that are comfortable and fit properly
    • A heel that tilts inward
    • Numbness or tingling in the feet
    • Toes that are bent when standing, such as hammer toes or claw toes
    • Achilles tendinitis or tightness in the calf muscles

    In addition, high arches can often lead to various foot problems, such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures. Not everyone with high arches will experience the same symptoms or level of severity. Some people with high arches may not have any symptoms at all. If you have high arches and are experiencing discomfort or any of these complications, seek evaluation and guidance from an experienced podiatrist. A podiatrist can assist in managing symptoms effectively and provide appropriate treatments as needed.

    How a Podiatrist Can Treat High Arches

    Podiatrists experienced in foot and ankle conditions can accurately diagnose foot problems, such as high arches, through a comprehensive evaluation. A podiatrist will examine your foot to assess its structure and range of motion and identify any underlying causes that could be contributing to your condition. They may order testing to confirm the diagnosis, such as an X-ray, MRI, a nerve conduction study, or electromyography.

    Possible Treatment Options

    • Custom orthotics. Podiatrists can prescribe customized orthotics, such as arch supports or shoe inserts, to help correct foot alignment and provide additional support.
    • Footwear recommendations. High arches often require specialized footwear to accommodate the unique foot structure and prevent excessive pressure points. A skilled podiatrist can guide you in selecting appropriate shoes with proper arch support, cushioning, and stability.
    • Physical therapy. In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended to address muscle imbalances, improve flexibility, and strengthen the muscles surrounding the foot and ankle.
    • Icing. Applying ice to the arches of your feet can help reduce pain and inflammation.
    • Medication. To help ease pain and swelling, over-the-counter pain medications can be used.

    Types of Surgery for High Arches

    A podiatrist will only recommend surgery for high arches if conservative approaches have failed to relieve pain and discomfort. Surgery may be necessary if the case is severe, and surgical intervention is needed to correct an underlying structural issue or to improve the overall function of the foot.

    There are several surgical procedures that can be performed to address high arches, depending on your specific needs. These include the following:

    • Soft tissue release. Tight tendons and ligaments contributing to the high arch may be surgically lengthened or released to alleviate tension and improve foot alignment.
    • Tendon transfer. In this procedure, tendons from one part of the foot are transferred to another area to help balance the forces acting on the foot and improve stability.
    • Osteotomy. This procedure involves cutting and reshaping the bones in the foot or ankle to realign the foot structure and redistribute weight more evenly.
    • Joint fusion. This procedure involves fusing two or more bones to provide stability and correct deformities in the foot.

    Surgery does not come without risks. It is essential to discuss the risks and what to expect after surgery with your podiatrist before agreeing to a procedure. Your podiatrist will determine what procedure will be best for your specific needs.

    Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists Go the Distance for You

    When you have a foot or an ankle problem, you want a team of specialists who will give you clear answers about your condition, treat you with state-of-the-art equipment, and provide you with a treatment plan that directly addresses your specific issue. Our podiatrists understand the importance of healthy feet, and with their education and training, they provide you with the best options for a speedy recovery.

    The award-winning podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists are recognized across the country for their depth of knowledge, treatment options, and outstanding service. If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, contact us at 512-328-8900, or take advantage of our online appointment scheduling.

  • What is the correct way to trim my toenails?

    Trimming your toenails may seem like a simple and routine task, but there is a correct way to do it. Improper toenail trimming can lead to complications like ingrown toenails, which can be painful and even require medical attention. If you are unsure how to properly trim your toenails, it’s always a good idea to get help from an experienced podiatrist who’s skilled at assisting patients with their toenail care. Many patients may have issues with their toenails, and those with diabetes must take special care when cutting them. The right way to trim your toenails

    Proper Techniques for Trimming Toenails

    Using the proper techniques for trimming toenails is essential for maintaining healthy feet. Before trimming your toenails, consider the following tips to help you trim them safely and correctly:

    • Choose your tools. The first step in trimming your toenails is to choose the right tool. You want to use a pair of toenail clippers rather than fingernail clippers to help prevent your nails from cracking or becoming ingrown. Additionally, ensure that your clippers are sharp and clean since dull clippers can crush the nail, making it more likely to become ingrown, and dirty clippers can introduce bacteria and increase the risk of infection.
    • Soften your nails. Trimming your toenails after a bath or shower when they are soft is the best time, as it makes them easier to cut and reduces the risk of splitting or cracking. The warm water also helps to soften the surrounding skin, making it easier to trim the nails without causing any discomfort.
    • Begin to trim. Once your nails are soft and you have the right tools, cut them straight across. Do not curve the corners or dig into the sides of the nail, as this can cause the nail to grow into the skin and lead to an ingrown toenail. Keep the nails at a moderate length, and avoid cutting them too short or leaving them too long, as both can lead to problems. Your toenails should never bleed when you cut them.
    • Smooth the edges. After trimming your toenails, use a file to smooth any rough edges or sharp corners. This will prevent the nails from catching on socks or shoes and reduce the risk of ingrown toenails.
    • Don’t forget to moisturize. Moisturizing your feet after trimming your toenails is just as important as the actual trimming process. It helps keep your toenails and surrounding skin hydrated and soft. Dry, brittle toenails are also more prone to splitting and breaking, which can lead to further complications. Always avoid applying lotion between your toes since this can promote bacterial growth.

    Possible Complications of Improper Toenail Trimming

    Ingrown toenails are one of the most common complications of improper toenail trimming. They occur when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing pain, swelling, redness, and even infection. There are several things to avoid when trimming your toenails that can help you maintain the health and safety of your feet and toes, including:

    • Cutting your nails too frequently, as this can damage the nail bed and increase the risk of infection
    • Wearing tight shoes or socks that compress the toes and cause pressure on the nails
    • Not keeping your feet clean and dry may lead to fungal infections and other problems
    • Sharing tools with others can spread fungal infections and other foot-related problems

    When to See a Podiatrist

    While most toenail problems can heal on their own or be treated at home, there are times when it is best to see a podiatrist. Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following signs:

    • Severe pain, swelling, or redness around the nail
    • Drainage or pus coming from the nail or surrounding skin
    • Chronic or recurring ingrown toenails
    • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
    • A thickening or discoloration of the nail that does not improve with treatment

    A podiatrist will evaluate your toenails and provide appropriate treatment, which may include antibiotics, removal of the nail, or other procedures.

    Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists Go the Distance for You

    When you have a foot or an ankle problem, you want a team of specialists who will give you clear answers about your condition, treat you with state-of-the-art equipment, and provide you with a treatment plan that directly addresses your specific issue. Our podiatrists understand the importance of healthy feet, and with their education and training, they provide you with the best options for a speedy recovery.

    The award-winning podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists are recognized across the country for their depth of knowledge, treatment options, and outstanding service. If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, contact us at 512-328-8900, or take advantage of our online appointment scheduling.

  • Do I need surgery if I rupture my Achilles tendon?

    The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. An Achilles tendon rupture can happen when the tendon is overstretched when engaging in an activity such as jumping, which can result in a partial or complete tear. This type of injury can be painful and debilitating, but it is possible to fully recover with proper treatment. Some Achilles tendon ruptures can be treated non-surgically, while others may require surgery. The decision to perform surgery depends on the extent of the injury and your health status, age, and activity level. Your podiatrist will determine what treatment is right for your specific needs. Rupture of an achilles tendon

    Signs of an Achilles Tendon Rupture

    To diagnose an Achilles tendon rupture, your doctor will conduct a physical exam to check for swelling, bruising, and tenderness in the back of the ankle and calf.  Along with the physical exam, a Thompson test may be performed where you lay down on your stomach with your feet off the end of the exam table. The doctor will squeeze your calf muscle to see if your foot will automatically point downward, and if there is no foot movement, it possibly indicates a ruptured Achilles tendon. In addition, a doctor may order imaging tests such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI to assess the extent of the injury. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment options can be discussed.

    Non-Surgical Treatment

    • Rest. Resting the affected leg is the first step in treating an Achilles tendon rupture. This means avoiding activities that can strain the tendon, such as running, jumping, or climbing stairs.
    • Ice. Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice should be used for 15-20 minutes several times a day.
    • Compression. A compression bandage can help reduce swelling and support the affected area while it heals.
    • Elevation. Keeping the affected leg elevated can help reduce swelling and promote healing.
    • Immobilization. A cast, brace, or boot may be placed on the affected foot to keep it immobilized while the injury heals.
    • Physical therapy. Physical therapy may be recommended to help strengthen the affected leg and prevent further injury once the initial pain and swelling have diminished.

    Even conservative treatments have risks. It is possible to have another Achilles tendon rupture after using non-surgical approaches.

    Surgical Treatment

    There are many factors to consider when deciding if surgery is necessary for a ruptured Achilles tendon. Surgery may be recommended for a complete tear or if the tendon has pulled away from the bone. Surgery may also be recommended if the person has difficulty walking or if they experience continued pain and swelling after trying non-surgical approaches that have not been successful in reducing symptoms.

    Surgery is often recommended for those who are younger or physically active. Surgery can be done to repair or reattach the tendon to the bone. Depending on the individual, recovery time after surgery can be several months.

    Discussing Surgery With Your Doctor

    • Type of surgery. Different types of surgery can be used to repair an Achilles tendon rupture. Your doctor will recommend the best option based on your individual needs.
    • Possible risks and complications. As with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications associated with Achilles tendon surgery. Risks may include infection, nerve damage, blood clots, or continued pain in the foot and ankle.
    • Recovery time. Recovery time will vary depending on the type of surgery and the extent of the injury. Your doctor can estimate how long it will take to recover and when you can expect to return to normal activities.
    • Physical therapy. After surgery, physical therapy will be an essential part of the recovery process. Your doctor can recommend a physical therapist and provide guidance on what to expect.

    Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists Go the Distance for You

    When you have a foot or an ankle problem, you want a team of specialists who will give you clear answers about your condition, treat you with state-of-the-art equipment, and provide you with a treatment plan that directly addresses your specific issue. Our podiatrists understand the importance of healthy feet, and with their education and training, they provide you with the best options for a speedy recovery.

    The award-winning podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists are recognized across the country for their depth of knowledge, treatment options, and outstanding service. If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, contact us at 512-328-8900, or take advantage of our online appointment scheduling.

  • Will I have pain after bunion surgery?

    It is common to experience some pain and discomfort after bunion surgery, as it is a surgical procedure that involves cutting and rearranging the bones in the foot. The amount of pain you experience may depend on the extent of the surgery and your individual pain tolerance. During the healing process after bunion surgery, it is essential to keep off your feet as much as possible. Additionally, follow any instructions given by your doctor regarding activity restrictions and rehabilitation exercises, so you can make a full recovery and get back to enjoying the activities you once did. Bunion surgery

    Why Your Foot May Hurt After Bunion Surgery

    After bunion surgery, it is common for patients to experience pain and discomfort. This is especially true in the weeks following the procedure as the foot adjusts to its new shape. While this pain may seem unbearable at times, it is important to remember that most of it should subside in a few days or weeks, depending on individual circumstances.

    Pain can vary depending on the type of bunion surgery performed. Bunion surgery can be done to remove bones, remove and reshape a damaged joint, or realign bones and fix them in place with pins or screws. Although pain may feel never-ending at times during your post-surgical recovery process, it's important to keep in mind that with proper care and attention from both yourself and your medical team, you will soon be able to get back on track with your day-to-day life.

    Common Reasons Your Foot Hurts After Bunion Surgery

    • Swelling. Swelling is a common response to any surgery and can cause pain and discomfort. The swelling after bunion surgery may last for several weeks or months.
    • Nerve irritation. Bunion surgery may cause irritation to the nerves in your foot, which can result in pain, tingling, or numbness.
    • Bone healing. As the bones in your foot heal and recover, you may experience some pain or discomfort. This may last for several weeks or months.
    • Scar tissue. Scar tissue may form around the incision site, which can cause pain or stiffness.

    Common Post-Operative Instructions

    • Take medication such as anti-inflammatory pain medication or prescribed painkillers
    • Keep your foot elevated
    • Wear a special shoe or cast
    • Keep your foot bandaged with a clean dressing
    • Keep off your feet as much as possible, so the area around the surgical site can settle evenly
    • Perform certain rehabilitation exercises to restore movement in your foot

    In addition, depending on what foot was operated on, you may be restricted from driving until the foot has completely healed.

    Warning Signs of a Problem After Surgery

    Although bunion surgery generally yields very positive results, there could be some complications during or after the procedure. Some of the most common complications include infection, nerve injury, stiffness of the joint, and recurrence of the bunion.

    It is normal to expect some degree of foot pain after bunion surgery, but it is important to contact your podiatrist if you believe your pain has become worse than expected or if you develop any other symptoms such as:

    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Fever or chills
    • Bleeding
    • Drainage from the incision site
    • Trouble breathing

    Seeing a podiatrist at the first sign of a problem can help you avoid more serious complications. Your doctor will assess your condition and advise you on what kind of treatment would be best for you following your surgery. Additionally, they can provide guidance on which activities can help reduce discomfort during the healing period and how long until full recovery can be expected.

    Contact Our Austin Bunion Podiatrist

    If you had bunion surgery and are experiencing pain, contact our experienced podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists for an evaluation today. We can evaluate your foot and determine if any additional treatment is necessary. To schedule an appointment, contact us online, or call our office at 512-328-8900.

  • How can Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) relieve foot pain

    Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy can be an effective way to treat chronic foot pain caused by a variety of conditions, including tendinitis, ligament sprains, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, and bursitis. This safe and non-invasive procedure uses platelets from your own blood to stimulate healing in damaged tissues, which helps reduce inflammation and improve recovery time. Before undergoing any treatment for your foot pain, it is essential to discuss all available options with your podiatrist to determine if PRP therapy is the right choice for your specific needs. PRP injections

    How PRP Therapy Can Help Relieve Foot Pain

    PRP therapy is a regenerative medical procedure that uses platelets from your own blood to stimulate healing. The platelets are mixed with a saline solution and injected into the affected area of the body. This triggers an inflammatory response that helps promote the damaged tissue's healing and regeneration. Additionally, because the platelets are derived from the patient's blood, there is no risk of allergic reaction or rejection.

    Platelet-rich plasma contains growth factors that increase the production of new cells and promotes healing in damaged tissues. The injection stimulates collagen production, which helps strengthen weakened structures such as ligaments and tendons while reducing inflammation and pain. It also increases blood flow to the area, which helps improve tissue recovery time.

    Benefits of PRP Therapy for Foot Pain

    There are multiple benefits associated with PRP therapy for those suffering from chronic foot pain, including:

    • Reduced inflammation. Injecting a high concentration of platelets directly into the affected area helps reduce inflammation quickly while stimulating cell regeneration, which can further expedite healing times.
    • Pain relief. Injecting platelets into areas of chronic pain can also help provide relief by promoting natural healing processes within the body as well as reducing inflammation and swelling. 
    • Increased mobility. As your condition improves, this helps you get back on your feet faster and regain full mobility more quickly than with traditional treatments. Medications such as anti-inflammatories or opioids do not address underlying issues or promote natural healing processes the way PRP therapy does. 

    Conditions That Can Be Treated With PRP

    PRP therapy is effective at relieving a wide range of foot problems and can be used to treat a variety of conditions that involve soft tissue or joint damage. Conditions that may be considered for PRP injections may include the following:

    • Arthritis
    • Achilles tendon injuries
    • Sprains
    • Plantar fasciitis
    • Sports-related injuries
    • Muscle injuries

    In addition, PPR therapy can also be used to help ease post-operative pain.

    What Should I Discuss With My Podiatrist?

    Before undergoing any treatment for your foot pain, it is important to discuss all available options with your podiatrist. They will determine if PRP therapy is right for you based on the severity of your condition and any other factors that may influence the outcome of the treatment, such as age or health history. During this discussion, it’s important to ask questions about what to expect from treatment, so you know the kind of results you can expect after the procedure is complete. 

    PRP therapy typically consists of two to three treatments spaced several weeks apart for best results. You can expect some soreness around the injection site, but this should subside within one to two days. Remember that full recovery times vary depending on the individual, but most patients report feeling significant improvement within six to twelve weeks following their last injection. Although some initial discomfort may occur during treatment sessions, most patients experience minimal side effects afterward.

    Contact Us

    If you are considering PRP therapy as a treatment option for your chronic foot pain, contact our experienced podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists for an evaluation today. We can determine if you are a candidate for this type of therapy and help get you back to living life pain free. To schedule an appointment, contact us online, or call our office at 512-328-8900.


  • What could be causing my heel pain?

    Heel pain can be tricky to diagnose. The cause could be a simple strain, or it might mean something more serious is going on. What is certain is that the cause of your heel pain needs to be identified, so a podiatrist can start you on an appropriate treatment plan. There are various causes of heel pain, and how to treat them depends on your specific condition and needs. The many causes of heel pain

    Common Causes of Heel Pain

    Heel pain isn’t always caused by a medical condition. For example, if you stand on your feet for long periods of time, overuse your feet during long walks or marathons, or wear poorly fitting or high-heeled shoes, your feet, especially your heels, may become sore and achy. However, there are medical conditions that can be the root cause of heel pain. 

    Common Medical Conditions That Might Cause Your Heel Pain

    • Plantar fasciitis. One of the most common sources of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This condition occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs from your heel bone to your toes, becomes inflamed due to excessive stress or overuse. The inflammation in this area can cause sharp shooting pains in the heel, which may spread up to the arch and toes. If you experience plantar fasciitis, you may feel pain in your heel when you first get out of bed in the morning or after spending long periods sitting down. Other symptoms include swelling, burning sensations, and redness around the affected area. To treat plantar fasciitis, a podiatrist may recommend stretching exercises specifically designed for this condition and the use of ice packs to reduce inflammation. Taking ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications may also help relieve symptoms. 
    • Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis is another leading cause of heel pain caused by inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bones. The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis often feels like a sharp stabbing sensation that increases with physical activity such as running or jumping or during periods of prolonged standing or walking. Resting your feet and applying ice are two essential treatments for Achilles tendonitis, along with wearing supportive shoes and using orthotics to provide extra cushioning for your feet when needed. Surgery may be necessary in extreme cases when these remedies fail to provide relief from symptoms. 
    • Heel spurs. Heel spurs are bony growths that can cause pain when they rub against other tissues when you move. These spurs develop when calcium deposits build up on the underside of your heel bone, which can lead to painful inflammation and swelling around the affected area. Heel spurs are usually caused by excessive weight-bearing activity, such as running or jogging on hard surfaces, but can also be caused by flat feet or high arches. Both put more pressure on certain parts of the foot than others. Treatment for heel spurs typically involves wearing arch support inserts or orthotics and taking anti-inflammatory medications to reduce any swelling and pain. Surgery is rarely necessary except in cases where there is severe damage to the surrounding tissue due to a large spur near nerves or joints.
    • Bursitis. Bursitis occurs when one or more of the small fluid-filled sacs (bursae) in your feet becomes inflamed due to pressure or friction. Bursitis typically causes tenderness, swelling, and redness around the back of your ankle, making it painful to walk on hard surfaces without proper footwear support. Often, rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication are all that are needed to treat bursitis. For some patients, physical therapy can help, as well as changing the type of shoes they wear. Some may find relief by placing heel cups or inserts inside their shoes.

    Diagnosing and Treating Heel Pain

    It’s important to see a podiatrist at the first sign of heel pain or if you experience more serious symptoms. These can develop into dangerous complications.

    Watch for These Symptoms With Heel Pain

    • Severe or sudden pain
    • Redness in the heel
    • Swelling in the heel
    • Difficulty walking due to pain

    A podiatrist can diagnose your condition after giving your feet a physical exam. They may also order imaging tests such as X-rays and MRIs to confirm the diagnosis or rule out anything more serious that could require physical therapy or surgery. Common treatments for heel pain include:

    • Rest
    • Ice
    • Anti-inflammatory pain medication
    • Night splints
    • Orthotics or shoe inserts

    To help prevent heel pain, you should wear shoes that fit properly, provide adequate support, and are right for your activity. In addition, it’s always a good idea to stretch before exercising.

    Contact Our Austin Heel Pain Podiatrists

    If you are experiencing heel pain, contact our experienced podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists for an evaluation today. We can provide various advanced treatment options based on your individual needs. To schedule an appointment, contact us online, or call our office at 512-328-8900.


  • Should I see a podiatrist if I have peripheral arterial disease (PAD)?

    Yes, you should see a podiatrist if you have peripheral arterial disease (PAD). A podiatrist is specially trained to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the feet and ankles, including PAD. Your podiatrist will evaluate your condition, coordinate with other members of your care team if necessary, and develop a personalized treatment plan based on your individual needs, so you can get back on track quickly and safely. Dealing with peripheral artery disease

    What Is PAD?

    PAD is a condition where arteries become narrowed or clogged due to plaque buildup caused by fatty deposits. Those with diabetes or venous insufficiency are at a greater risk for the disease. PAD can lead to decreased blood flow, which can cause pain, numbness, and other symptoms in the legs and feet. Over time, this lack of proper blood flow can cause damage to tissues, resulting in ulcers, infections, or even gangrene. If PAD is left untreated, it can lead to amputation or death.

    Signs of PAD

    • Pain or numbness in your legs or feet. PAD can cause pain or numbness in the lower leg, foot, and toes. The pain may feel like a cramp or tightness in the muscles, similar to what you would feel after exercising for an extended period. This pain typically subsides when resting your legs but returns when walking or exercising again.
    • Cold feet or toes. Many people with PAD have decreased circulation due to the narrowing of their arteries, making it difficult for their feet and toes to stay warm. This symptom often indicates that not enough blood is being circulated through these areas of your body.
    • Weak pulses in your legs or feet. If you press on your ankles with two fingers, you should be able to feel a pulse. A weakened pulse could indicate poor circulation due to narrowed arteries. If you are having trouble feeling this pulse, it may be time to speak with a doctor about PAD.
    • Discoloration of skin on your legs or feet. Your skin may look pale or blue due to insufficient oxygen-rich blood supply from narrowed arteries caused by PAD. This discoloration may also appear shiny from swelling caused by fluid buildup due to poor circulation in your limbs. 

    How a Podiatrist Can Help With PAD

    If you are suffering from PAD, you need the help of a skilled podiatrist who has the knowledge and experience needed to diagnose and treat this condition. Whether you are dealing with pain and discomfort in your legs or concerned about the long-term complications of PAD, a podiatrist can recommend options to help manage your symptoms.

    Your podiatrist will evaluate your condition, work with other members of your care team, and/or refer you to another specialist if necessary. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, we have noninvasive testing for PAD called PADnet. This testing allows us to get all the necessary information without cutting into your body. PADnet makes it possible for podiatrists to diagnose the condition at its earliest stages to decrease the risk of serious, life-threatening complications.

    Possible Treatment for PAD

    • Lifestyle changes such as weight management, stopping smoking, and increased physical activity
    • Medications such as cholesterol-lowering drugs or antiplatelet drugs
    • Minimally invasive treatments such as angioplasty
    • Surgery may be needed for more severe cases 

    In addition, a podiatrist can recommend specialty shoes or custom orthotics to help ease the symptoms of PAD. A podiatrist can also provide advanced wound-healing services. Since patients with PAD may have wounds that don’t heal easily, it is essential to see a podiatrist as soon as possible, so wounds don’t become infected.

    Contact Our Austin Podiatrist Today

    If you have pain and/or numbness in your feet and ankles, contact our skilled podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists for an evaluation. We can provide various treatment options based on your individual needs. To schedule an appointment, contact us online, or call our office at 512-328-8900.