Bursitis is a problem you might not even have heard of, until it affected you. Because it’s a problem we are all at risk from, and that could potentially affect anyone, at any time of their lives. So if you don’t have bursitis now, it’s important that you understand what it is, what causes it, and how to treat it. Just in case. But what is bursitis of the foot?
Bursitis of the Foot
Our joints are all surrounded by small, fluid filled sacs called bursa that cushion the joint and reduce friction between the bones as they move throughout the day.
In a healthy joint, this bursa will be thin, because it doesn’t need to take much stress. However, infection or irritation of a bursa, whether by bacteria or repetitive strain, will cause this sac to become inflamed and swell up.
The physical symptoms are obvious. You can see swollen areas around the joints, and it will feel soft and fluid to the touch. Areas affected by bursitis are also tender to the touch, because of the inflammation, and will cause you pain as you use and move that joint.
Bursitis of the foot tends to affect three key areas.
- The heel
- The base of the big toe joint
- The ball of the foot
These areas are the ones that do the most flexing and moving throughout the day, take the most force from walking, and absorb the majority of the shock as we move around throughout the day.
What Causes Bursitis in the Foot?
Bursitis generally forms when a joint is used to make the same motions again and again, like a repetitive strain injury.
People who play a lot of sports or over exercise, especially without adequate preparation or wearing the correct shoes, can get bursitis. It’s common in runners for this particular reason. It can even be caused if you’ve done a lot more walking than usual recently.
Bursitis in the feet can also be caused by a sudden, shocking movement. In this case you’ll probably have done minor damage to the feet, and the body responds like this. If you remember pulling a muscle or a sharp, sudden pain in your feet in the days coming up to when you first had bursitis, it is possible that this might be the cause.
Sadly, bursitis can also be caused simply by ageing. As we get older our joints slowly wear down over time, and the increased inflammation this causes can affect our joints and cause bursitis.
How to Treat Bursitis of the Foot?
Thankfully, once you’ve identified the problem, the solution is relatively simple.
- Rest your joints as much as possible. Stay off of your feet and walk as little as you can to take the stress off of your foot joints.
- Use padded insoles and heel cups in your shoes to provide additional shock absorption and foot protection as you walk.
- Wear only comfortable shoes, nothing that places undue stress on the foot. No tight or constricting shoes. No high heels. Nothing that places pressure on the toes.
- If you’ve got bursitis in your toes or the ball of your foot, wear shoes that are more open at the front, to take pressure off of this area of your feet.
On top of resting your feet, you can also;
- Apply cold treatments to your feet. Ice packs or over the counter chilling creams will help to reduce swelling and inflammation. Try to apply this treatment regularly, and with 15-30 minute intervals.
- Avoid sleeping with the foot that has bursitis under your other leg. Although it might not hurt, this will place added pressure on the joint and slow recovery.
- If the pain is debilitating or interferes with your day to day life, you can take normal painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce the pain and help fight the inflammation and swelling.
- If you’re capable and it doesn’t hurt to perform the movements, stretch and massage the affected area to strengthen your muscles. This will fight against the inflammation and stimulate your immune system.
Bursitis normally only lasts a few weeks, but if your bursitis isn’t getting better, or the symptoms start to get worse, then the best thing to do is make an appointment with your doctor, who may prescribe a course of antibiotics or steroids to deal with the issue.
Knowing All That, What is the Best Bursitis Foot Treatment?
If this is your first time suffering from bursitis, then the simplest and best treatment is this;
- Get as much rest as possible. Stay off of your foot as much as you can.
- Wear only comfortable shoes, with padded insoles if they help
- Treat the affected area with ice packs or cold crème and take painkillers as needed
- If you’re still suffering in a few weeks, see your doctor
The Final Word
So, what is bursitis of the foot? It’s basically a swollen or damaged joint in your foot. You don’t need to worry as it can be treated. As long as you follow the tips above, you should see improvements. If you’re still struggling after awhile, you should consult your physician.
Have you ever suffered from bursitis? Do you have any treatment tips? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. Let us know what worked for you in the past, and how you deal with this right now.