Pain in your feet can be very frustrating. Most people want to push through it and continue with their physical activity. It can be hard to put your body on hold to let it heal, but resting from activity is a very important part of dealing with bursitis in your foot or ankle. If you don’t, it can become a greater problem.
What is Bursitis?
Bursae are the little fluid filled sacs that keep certain bones, tendons, muscles, and skin from rubbing up against each other. Bursitis occurs when these little sacs become inflamed due to overuse. Because it is an overuse injury, the most commonly affected people are athletes, or at least people who live a physically active lifestyle. Other people who are at risk are those who constantly put a lot of pressure on feet and ankles, the elderly, people who wear poorly fitting shoes, and someone who has suffered a traumatic injury. Symptoms include a dull pain or tenderness near the affected area. You may also notice swelling or redness in your skin because of inflammation.
Where It Affects the Foot
This condition can technically affect any area that has bursae, but in the foot it most commonly affects the heel and ankle area and the forefoot. Calcaneal/retrocalcaneal bursitis—also called Achilles bursitis—occurs when your Achilles tendon causes friction against your calcaneus (heel bone), which can cause irritation in the bursa that cushions the two. It is most often found in runners and causes pain at the lower back of your heel.
Problems can also occur in the bursae between the metatarsals and skin in your forefoot—either on the underside or along the big toe joint. It happens when these areas are subject to pressure from poor-fitting shoes, overuse, or friction. It is often connected to overpronation, and can cause pain on the side of your big toe or under your foot near the toes.
Treatment for Bursitis
Fortunately, treatment are relatively simple and do not require the use of invasive measures in most cases. Usually resting your foot for a period of time is enough to help with the healing process. During this resting period you might also consider applying ice to help avoid swelling. We may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to help with pain and inflammation. There are different types of shoe inserts that you can use to help prevent pressure being put on the inflamed bursae. We may show you some physical therapy exercises or stretches to improve muscle strength and flexibility in your ankle or foot. This is also a preventative measure that can help keep the problem from returning. If all of these fail to work, we may consider cortisone injections. In extremely rare cases, it might be necessary to surgically remove the inflamed bursae.
When to Seek Help
If you believe you have bursitis, call Dr. Robert Parker at (281) 497-2850 to schedule an appointment at Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston. We can help diagnose this condition and then set up a treatment plan that fits your unique situation, so that you can resume your activities free of pain. Be sure to check us out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for up-to-date foot care information.