All moving parts need some sort of lubricant to reduce friction between them. This includes your joints and the soft tissues connected to them. Unfortunately, friction can cause problems with the protective structures as well, leading to issues like bursitis.
Understanding an Inflamed Bursa
Bursitis is a painful overuse injury to a structure designed to protect you from motion. This structure, called a bursa, sits in between your bones and soft tissues like muscles or tendons. It’s a fluid-filled sac that cushions and lubricates surfaces to reduce friction from movement. Pressure on the bursa, however, irritates the sac and causes inflammation. You develop pain, tenderness, and stiffness. Often the affected area swells. It may appear red and feel warm to the touch.
This can happen in a few different places in your feet, but it’s most common in your heel. There the bursa sits between the calcaneus, or heel bone, and your Achilles tendon. Pressure on the back of your foot from shoes, a tightened Achilles tendon, and overuse when exercising are all common causes. Trauma from sports injuries and wear-and-tear over time may lead to bursitis in other places, too. As an overuse injury, the problem does not improve on its own—it gets worse.
Taking Care of Your Bursa
Bursitis is similar to other foot and ankle problems, so you need a careful evaluation and accurate diagnosis to manage the condition. The expert doctors at Country Foot Care will examine your lower limbs and use diagnostic ultrasound to test for inflammation in the bursa. Our staff will also look for the contributing factors that may have led to the injury, and can help you alleviate the pain and the problem.
Reducing the inflammation and swelling is the first step. This means scaling back or taking a break from all activities that cause your foot discomfort. Icing the painful area, when the pain is acute will reduce inflammation and swelling in and around the bursa. You may need to adjust your shoes and wear shoes that don’t put too much pressure directly on the painful area. Choose styles that have plenty of arch support and padded soles to help absorb shock on the feet. Wearing cushioned insoles or custom orthotics can help reduce some of the pressure as well.
Physical therapy exercises and stretches can also help. We might recommend anti-inflammatory medications for you as well, or use a direct injection of pain medication, particularly if the pain is persistent. Occasionally, regular conservative methods do not help relieve the discomfort. In those cases, shockwave therapy may help handle the chronically inflamed bursa.
Bursitis is a painful problem that will only worsen the longer it goes untreated. You don’t have to put up with the pain, though. Allow the skilled doctors at Country Foot Care help you eliminate your discomfort and restore your foot to health. Appointments can be made by calling our offices directly or a request for an appointment can be made online by clicking on the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of this page.