You may have heard of bursitis in the shoulder, but did you know you can also get bursitis in your feet and in other areas of your body? Our bodies have many mechanisms for lubricating and cushioning bones and joints. One is the bursa, which is a small sac of fluid that can be found in every joint in your body. This sac of fluid provides lubrication and cushioning between the hard surfaces of your joints. Sometimes, the bursa can become inflamed. The result is bursitis. In this article, we discuss bursitis of the foot and provide good information to help you prevent and/or treat it. Read on to learn more.
Where is the Bursa in the Foot?
In your feet, the main bursa is located between the calcaneus (heel bone) and the Achilles tendon. It protects your Achilles tendon from pressure caused by the heel bone when you walk or run. When this bursa becomes inflamed, a condition called retrocalcaneal bursitis is the result.
Sometimes, bursitis can develop in the joints of the toes, in the ankle and/or in the side of the foot near the heel. The reason for this is that feet just take a beating. As they bear your weight throughout each and every day, the possibility for developing bursitis and other foot problems is to be expected.
What Causes Bursitis?
It’s easy to see that taking care of your feet in general will help you avoid and/or treat foot bursitis. To prevent excessive pressure and stress on your feet, you should always wear high quality, well-fitted shoes. Avoid lengthy walking, running or standing on hard surfaces. Too much time on your feet in poor shoes and/or on unyielding surfaces will surely result in inflammation of the bursa. Additionally, too much weight and pressure on your feet can eventually cause damage to your joints.
What are the Symptoms of Foot Bursitis?
You will feel bursitis in the specific area of the foot that is affected. The symptoms may include:
- Pain on contact and/or when standing, walking or running
- Hot, red skin over the painful area of your foot
- Great pain when standing on your tiptoes
How Can You Treat Foot Bursitis?
- Use the RICE method. Apply Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation to reduce inflammation and swelling and give your feet a chance to heal.
- Use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) as needed to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Use over-the-counter or prescription orthotic insoles and padding to help relieve pressure.
- Deeply cushioned heel cups can be especially helpful in absorbing shock and reducing pressure on the bursa in the heel.
- Wear high quality, well-fitted, supportive, comfortable shoes.
- For Bursitis in the toes or ball-of-foot bursitis, pay close attention to your shoes’ toe-box. It should be ample and accommodating.
What Is Haglund’s Deformity?
One condition that frequently causes heel bursitis is called Haglund’s deformity. This is the bony enlargement of the back part of the heel. This condition usually affects women. When you have this condition, soft tissues surrounding your Achilles tendon can become irritated as the enlarged bone rubs against the inside of your shoes. This is especially problematic with the rigid heel areas found on high-heeled shoes. That’s why Haglund’s deformity is also referred to as the “pump bump”.
What Can You Do To Avoid Or Treat Bursitis Of The Feet?
Follow the recommendations presented here to take good care of your feet, and you may be able to avoid foot bursitis. If you do develop the symptoms we describe, try the home remedies for a few days, but if you don’t experience significant relief, see your doctor. If your condition is severe, you may need steroids or cortisone to help reduce the swelling and inflammation. In some situations, your doctor may give you a corticosteroid injection. In very severe cases, surgery to remove the bursa may be necessary.
Spread Your Toes™ Series: Heel Pain: Bursitis Conservative Care vs. Conventional Care