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Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic

Frequent Foot Questions: What You Want to Know About Ankle and Foot Health

Exploring medical options to cope with pain can be very overwhelming, and it can be hard to know where to start. Here, we share our most commonly asked questions from people just like you. Whether you are wondering what is causing your pain or trying to find out what treatment options are available to you, find answers here in our frequently asked questions section.

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  • Is HyproCure covered by my insurance?

    The HyProCure procedure may be covered by your insurance plan.  Coverage terms can vary among the different insurance plans.  Typically the implant hardware itself is not covered by insurance.

  • Can unsteady gait problems be corrected?

    Unsteady gait can absolutely be improved, at any age. Balance is like any other physical skill—it can be developed, and the more you use it, the less likely you’ll lose it.

    Simple exercises, such as walking heel-to-toe or standing on one leg, can be incorporated into your daily routine and can greatly improve your stability. Stretches that improve range of motion in your hips, knees, and ankles can also help you regain a strong gait. If you’re looking for some fun, tai chi and yoga classes are another great way to improve your balance and confidence.

    When instability is caused by mechanical problems with your feet, we can provide services such as physical therapy or tools such as arch supports and orthotics to steady your stride. One tool we love is the More Balance Brace, which can help seniors reduce their fall risk by 30 to 60 percent.

    For help improving gait abnormalities, instability, or balance issues, call Dr. Darren Silvester of Next Step Foot and Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX today at 830-569-3338. We even offer free fall risk assessments, so if you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to stop by and see how we can help. 

  • Why are my toes tingling?

    Toes tingle for many reasons, though the most common source is some kind of nerve issue like tarsal tunnel syndrome or Morton’s neuroma. Injured, pinched, compressed, or irritated nerves can misfire and develop a painful, tingly, pins-and-needles sensation. In a condition like tarsal tunnel syndrome, one of the main nerves running into your foot from your lower leg ends up pinched in your ankle, which can lead to tingling throughout your whole foot.

    Why Your Toes May Tingle

    Other common causes include peripheral neuropathy (particularly from diabetes), poor circulation, vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune diseases, and even alcoholism. Sometimes tumors press on a nerve and cause damage. Kidney or liver issues, hormone imbalances, and chronic inflammation can lead to tingling toes as well. To properly treat your discomfort, you need to have the exact cause diagnosed. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic help you address your nerve-related discomfort. Use our online form or call (830) 569-3338 to make an appointment with us.

    Photo credit: satit_srihin via freedigitalphotos.net

  • Do I need surgery for flat feet?

    Flatfoot reconstruction is a big procedure that’s usually reserved as a last resort for flat feet that are painful but don’t respond to conservative treatment methods. Noninvasive options are always tried first, usually for several months, before moving to surgery. Shoe changes, custom orthotics, physical therapy, and a few other methods are normal ways of caring for flat feet. Sometimes, however, these do not help you.

    You might need surgery for flatfoot pain if your low arches cause significant discomfort that gets in the way of normal daily activities—and no other treatments have helped. If so, we can evaluate your feet and decide if you would benefit from surgery. Dr. Darren Silvester and our team at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic will use diagnostic images and other tests to determine the severity of your flatfoot problem, and then decide what procedure to use. If you’re struggling to deal with your flat feet, let us help you decide if surgery is right for you. Call (830) 569-3338 to make an appointment with our Pleasanton, TX, office.

  • Can I keep running with shin splints?

    Runner with shin splintsWhile you could continue running with shin splints, doing so will make it much harder for you to recover. This running injury develops when your lower limbs are overworked. The hard pounding from your feet striking the ground stresses your shins, inflaming the tissues there. The more you run, the more you aggravate the problem and the more your shins will hurt.

    The best way to recover from shin splints is to take a break from running and cross-train with low impact activities instead. Ice your shins regularly, especially when they are painful, to decrease inflammation and any swelling. Stretch and strengthen your lower limbs, too, particularly your calves. There seems to be a correlation between weak calves and shin splint pain, so strong calves may help prevent it. You might need to change your shoes or wear custom orthotics to control your biomechanics as well. If you’re having trouble with shin splint pain, let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, help you. Call (830) 569-3338 or use our website to contact us.

  • Why do I have pain in my second toe?

    Pain in the second toe can have many causes, from simple metatarsalgia to capsulitis. In some people, however, and particularly in teenage girls, it could be a sign of an uncommon forefoot issue called Freiberg’s disease. This is actually an injury that isn’t well understood. Something causes the metatarsal head attached to the second toe to begin to break down. Slowly the head flattens out, making it uncomfortable for you to put weight on that part of the foot. You may end up limping when you participate in activities. Often the second toe has a limited range of motion, swelling, and a callus under the ball of the foot.

    Conservative and surgical treatment for this condition both exist. The key is getting the condition properly diagnosed. Diagnostic images like X-rays help our physicians see the bone breakdown. From there, we can help you decide on the best possible treatment. Contact Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic for more information or an appointment if you have persistent pain under the second toe. You can call our San Antonio, TX, office at 210.375.3318 to reach us. 

  • What does PAD stand for?

    PAD is an acronym for the condition peripheral arterial disease. It’s an unfortunately common problem that restricts blood flow to your extremities, particularly your lower limbs. Fatty deposits called plaques build up in the arteries leading to your limbs. This stiffens and narrows your blood vessels, limiting circulation in those areas. This usually affects the feet, since they are already far from your heart and have naturally weaker blood flow than other places in your body.

    Not everyone experiences symptoms from PAD, especially at first, but as the condition worsens, your feet and legs can develop problems. Muscle cramping when you’re active, numbness, cold feet, skin discoloration, and slow-healing sores are all symptoms of a larger circulation problem. The issue does need to be treated. Eventually it can lead to serious problems with healing in your lower limbs and increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, help manage your symptoms and improve your feet’s circulation. We also offer in-house testing to see if you have PAD. Use the website or call (830) 569-3338 to reach us.

  • Do I need surgery for a stress fracture?

    A stress fracture very rarely needs surgery, though it does need prompt and careful treatment. For the majority of cases, conservative therapy is enough. You’ll have to take a break from all your hard-impact activities so you don’t continue to aggravate the bone. Depending on the severity of the crack, you may need to wear a cast or special walking boot to reduce the pressure on your foot and keep the limb immobile. Mild hairline cracks may only require a stiff-soled, supportive shoe. Once the bone has sufficiently recovered, you can begin physical therapy to re-condition your feet to handle your activities.

    Severe surface fractures or repeated injuries may be too unstable to recover on their own, however. In those cases, surgery may be necessary. A procedure will insert some kind of fastener or pin to keep the cracked portions of bone together so they can heal. Whether you need invasive or conservative treatment, though, you do need care. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, help you take care of your stress fracture. Use the website form or call (830) 569-3338 to reach us for an appointment.

  • Why do my feet feel like they are burning?

    Feet can feel like they are burning for a number of reasons, but one of the most common culprits is a neuroma. This is a small nerve tumor that develops when nerve tissue is pinched or under pressure. Nerve conditions like this cause the tissue to misfire and send wrong, painful signals to the brain. The area affected by the damaged nerve then begins to feel as though it’s burning. You can also develop tingling and numbness. The most common neuroma in your feet is a Morton’s neuroma, which sits between metatarsal heads in the ball of the foot.

    Another nerve condition that could lead to burning feet is neuropathy. This could be the result of diabetes, extreme vitamin deficiencies, infections, alcoholism, or HIV. Treating the burning sensation requires you to have the problem properly diagnosed and managed. Dr. Darren Silvester and the Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic team can help you with this. Let us examine and provide care for your burning feet. Call our Pleasanton, TX office at (830) 569-3338 or our Universal City, TX office at (210) 375-3318 to schedule an appointment with us.

  • Is Sever's Disease Preventable?

    Sever’s disease is a mostly preventable overuse condition. It’s the most common source of heel pain in children’s feet. Strain on the back of the heel bone aggravates the growth plate there and inflames it, causing the discomfort. This is usually the result of a tight Achilles tendon and frequent, repetitive hard impacts on the ground. Good children’s foot care that stretches the tendon and supports the heel can help prevent the inflammation in most cases.

    Help your child stretch the Achilles several times a day to keep the tendon relaxed. Make sure your son or daughter wears well-fitted, appropriate shoes for his or her activities—particularly for sports. Encourage your child to warm up properly and completely before every practice and game, too. This will help release tension in the lower limbs and prepare them for action, reducing some of the potential stress on the heel. If you’re still concerned for your child’s feet, contact Dr. Darren Silvester and the rest of the Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic team for an appointment. Call (830) 569-3338 or use the website to reach our Pleasanton, Texas, office.

  • Should I Pop the Blister on my Foot?

    In the majority of cases, you shouldn’t need to pop a blister. After a little while, your body reabsorbs the fluid inside and heals the skin damage. Most often you should leave the bubble intact as much as you can. Wash the skin gently with soap and water, then cover it with a bandage. Use gauze or a small pad if it is painful or in an area where it’s subject to a lot of pressure, like the soles of your feet.

    If the fluid bubble on your foot has already burst, wash the skin and use a sterile bandage to cover the sore and protect it from infection. Don’t peel away the layer of dead skin—let that slough off on its own later. If the blister is very painful, or if you have diabetes or some other condition that impairs your immune system, let Dr. Darren Silvester and our staff here at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic help you take care of the sore properly. Just contact our Pleasanton, TX, office by calling (830) 569-3338 or using the web request form.

  • What is the Difference Between Intoeing and Out-toeing?

    Intoeing and out-toeing are both gait abnormalities in young children, but they have key differences. Intoeing is a problem where your son or daughter’s toes appear to point inward toward the other foot when he or she stands. This is often the result of the way your baby’s feet were positioned in the womb. Out-toeing is simply the opposite. The toes appear to point outward and away from the other foot. This can be normal, but it can also be a side effect of a neuromuscular disorder.

    If your children’s feet point either in or out you should have your child’s lower limbs evaluated thoroughly to make sure the toes’ positions do not signal a bigger problem. Dr. Darren Silvester and the experienced staff at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic will use a variety of tests to check for unusual problems that may have contributed to the abnormality. If you notice this issue with your child’s feet, contact our Universal City, TX, office for an appointment. You can reach us by calling 210.375.3318 or by using the website.

  • Can I still exercise when injured?

    It’s a common question for athletes of all levels: “Can I still exercise when injured?” The answer is possibly, but this must be done carefully so you do not increase your pain or exacerbate any damage. You can stay in shape with foot and ankle injuries by cross training with low-impact exercises. These allow you to continue challenging your muscles, heart, and lungs, without forcing your feet to absorb hard impacts or shocks. Aerobics, swimming, biking, or other activities that don’t require you to strike the ground, work well for this. Some weight lifting and other strength exercises may also benefit you without adding to your injuries.

    If an exercise causes foot pain of any kind, though, don’t continue it. If you’re struggling with an injury, or would like help learning how to exercise or cross train in a foot-safe way, let Dr. Darren Silvester know at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX. See how we can help you recover and stay active. Submit a request online or call (830) 569-3338 to reach us for an appointment.

  • What are the Long Term Effects of Ankle Sprains?

    Historically, ankle sprains have been grossly undertreated. This has resulted in long-term misery and disability and pain for many people. Every week in our office we have someone come in with ankle pain that has resulted from inadequate treatment of an ankle sprain that occurred years ago. Many people treat ankle sprains themselves just by staying off the foot, and using an Ace wrap. For most ankle sprains that are bad enough to cause pain and is grossly inadequate. The new standard of care for moderately severe ankle sprain is now about 2 weeks in a cast followed by about 6-8 weeks with a very restrictive brace and then 6-8 months with a less restrictive brace during at risk activities. The reason for this is because the ligaments can then be allowed time to heal in a shortened (normal) length.

    With activity, even normal walking, the ankle ligaments are stretched and if they have been partially ruptured or completely torn, this activity of walking in the early stages of recovery creates a situation where the ankle ligaments become too loose and do not adequately support the joint. This may or may not be immediately painful. However, in the long run, the ankle joint starts to hurt because it is not functioning in a normal way. The ankle joint slips too far and is unstable. Sometimes, patients’ complaint of severe instability even have new sprains when walking on a flat surface or stepping on a pebble. Having your ankle sprain managed correctly and early will greatly increase your chance of not having long-term pain and discomfort from an ankle sprain.

    If you already have an unstable ankle from a previous ankle sprain, there is still hope. Usually, these could be treated with a fairly minimally invasive surgery that can restore the ligamentous integrity of your ankle joint.

    If you have sprained your ankle don’t put off seeking treatment. The longer you wait, the longer you’ll spend healing. Contact the Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic here in Pleasanton, Texas for more information or an appointment by calling (830) 569-3338 or using our online request form. Let us help you on the path of healing.

  • What is the Sharp, Shooting Pain on the Side of my Ankle?

    Your sharp, shooting pain on the side of the ankle could be a few different conditions. If it hurts the most along the outside of the joint, it may be peroneal tendon dislocation. You have two tendons that run down the outside of your lower leg, behind the bump on the side of your ankle, and attach to the side of your foot. They are held in place behind that bump by a ligament sheath. However, if that ligament is damaged by an ankle sprain, or if the groove behind the bone is too shallow, the tendons may dislocate and snap forward painfully.

    This condition needs intentional treatment to avoid tearing or permanently damaging the tendons. Let Dr. Darren Silvester here at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, help you manage your pain and restore your ankle. Call (830) 569-3338 or use the online request form to reach our office.

  • What caused my bone spur to form?

    What causes bone spurs depends on where they are. Bone spurs are extra growths of hard tissue that develop under repeated pressure and friction, so anything that strains a bone could encourage a spur to form. Arthritis is a common culprit, along with chronically tight or swollen tendons. When your arthritic bones grind together, the friction can create bumps near or in the joints. Condition like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, which involve a tight connector pulling on the bone, are common sources of spurs on your heels.

    Many spurs don’t cause problems and may even go unnoticed. If a bony bump is painful or causing stiffness, however, you’ll need to have it cared for. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at in Pleasanton, TX, know about any bumps on your lower limbs. Our staff can help you with your foot health. Call (830) 569-3338 or send us a request for an appointment through our website.

  • Do I Need Surgery for Capsulitis Toe Pain?

    Capsulitis in the feet is an inflammation of the ligaments surrounding the toe joints, most often seen in the second two digits. The main reason for the condition is excessive force to the forefoot, causing sharp or aching pain with any pressure or movement in the ball of the foot and base of the toes. Eventually, the toe will start to drift out of alignment. If this occurs, it is too late for conservative treatments—surgery will be necessary to reposition or shorten the bone.

    To avoid a surgical procedure, you must catch the condition in its early stages and treat it with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine. You can also try stretches, taping, splinting, shoe modifications, and inserts. Only if these all fail, or the condition goes on too long, will surgery have to be performed.

    If you are experiencing toe pain and swelling, come see us at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic. Nip the problem in the bud by calling 210.375.3318 or visiting our Universal City, TX, location to make an appointment with Dr. Darren Silvester.

  • Why does the ball of my foot hurt?

    Pain in the ball of your foot can come from many things, but one common cause is sesamoiditis. This is inflammation in the tiny sesamoid bones underneath your big toe. Typically it stems from overuse—either too many repetitive hard impacts, or insufficient conditioning in your limbs. This causes a painful problem that gets worse over time and is particularly affected by activity. If you have a burning or aching discomfort in the big toe area of the ball of your foot, especially if it developed gradually, you may have this condition.

    Sesamoiditis doesn’t get better without treatment, and it can limit your walking and running if it becomes uncomfortable enough. A little conservative care can help rectify the problem, though. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, know if you have ball of the foot pain. Our staff will help you restore your limbs. Call (830) 569-3338 or send us a request through the website to make an appointment.

  • Can I prevent shin splints?

    You can actually prevent shin splints with the right footwear and conditioning. This common overuse injury develops when the tissues along your shin bone are stressed by your activities. Wearing the proper footwearhelps your feet absorb the shock of your steps and supports your foot structures. With more support, your feet are less likely to land incorrectly and strain your legs.

    Conditioning your feet helps build up your strength so that your shins are able to handle the stress of your activities. Slowly ease your way into new exercise routines and build up your power and endurance over time. Make sure you warm up properly before any activity, too.

    Runners are particularly prone to this problem, but any athlete can develop it. If you’re struggling with shin splints, know that you can take steps to eliminate the pain and restore your lower limbs. Don’t wait until you’re sidelined by the discomfort to seek help. Contact Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, for more information or an appointment. You can request this by calling (830) 569-3338 or using our website contact page.

  • Why do diabetics get ulcers?

    Many people wonder, “Why do diabetics get ulcers?” Ulcers develop because diabetes impairs your immune system and your nerves. Small injuries may go unnoticed because you can’t feel them. Your weakened immune response is unable to repair the damage, especially if you continue walking and compounding the injury. Decreased blood flow from narrowed or damaged arteries means your feet don’t receive the vital nutrients and healing factors they need to recover. The problem worsens and your soft tissues begin to break down, resulting in an ulcer.

    Wounds like this need to be addressed right away to prevent dangerous infections that could cost you your foot. Preventing the issue in the first place, however, is much better for your body, which is why good diabetic foot care is necessary. If you’re concerned about a sore on your feet or you haven’t had a diabetic foot check in some time, don’t wait—contact Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic here in Pleasanton, TX, by calling (830) 569-3338. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more helpful information.