Roots normally flare out, but in small containers or left in a container for a long time, the roots reach the edge of the container and turn in circles. Inspect the root system before you purchase a tree if possible. At the very least, inspect the roots before you plant the tree and cut any girdling roots. Some can be loosened. Woody roots may have to be cut.
For information on planting trees appropriately, see the Purdue Extension guide by Lindsey Purcell: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/fnr/fnr-433-w.pdf
For West Lafayette’s Tree Manual and Guide to the West Lafayette Landscape Ordinance, see http://www.westlafayette.in.gov/egov/docs/1321371969_676940.pdf