If your feet ache, and you have difficulty moving the inflamed, swelling feet, you may be suffering from bursitis. Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid-filled cushions called the bursa that protect the body's joints. The bursa act as shock absorbers to prevent irritation at sites where tendons or ligaments pass over the bone. Unfortunately, due to age or trauma, the bursa can become inflamed and cause a great deal of discomfort.
As we age, the bursa's natural ability as a shock absorber diminishes, leading possible irritation and inflammation.
Bursitis can also be caused by:
- Repetitive motion
- Twisting or rapid joint movement
- Overusing a joint
Bursitis can occur in any area where there is a joint, though it commonly appears in elbows, shoulders, knees and feet. When there is bursitis in the foot, it typically occurs in the heel, the back of the heel, the ball of the foot or at the base of the big toe joint in conjunction with a bunion.
Symptoms of bursitis include:
- Pain, inflammation and swelling
- Heat emanating from the painful area
- Restricted range of motion regarding a specific joint
- Muscle weakness
- Complete loss of motion
- Increased pain in the morning, or after being immobile for extended periods of time
If you are suffering with bursitis, you can do several things to help
- Rest the joint
- Discontinue any strenuous activity involving the joint
- Apply ice or cold packs every 15 minutes to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers as necessary
- Try range of motion and stretching exercises as tolerated
- Use cushioned insoles and padding to relieve pressure points in your shoes
- Wear well-fitting, comfortable shoes
If the pain is in the ball of your foot or your toes, make sure your shoes have a large enough toe box for comfort.
If the problem persists or gets worse, The Podiatry Institute recommends that you make an appointment with your doctor. In some cases, anti-inflammatory medicines such as cortisone or steroids may be needed to help shrink the bursa, and in rare circumstances the bursa may need to be excised.
Information on foot, leg and lower body health conditions provided by The Podiatry Institute, dedicated to advancing the standard of care in podiatric medicine and its effects on muscoskeletal health.