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Bursitis may not be the first condition that springs to mind if your feet are giving you trouble. Possibly you’ve not even heard of it, but it’s more common than you’d think. 

We have bursae (plural of bursa) throughout our bodies. If they start causing problems it’s painful and incapacitating, so it’s wise to know what to look out for.

What Is a Bursa?

A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac located around a joint. It acts as a cushion to reduce friction between bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Without bursae these structures would constantly rub on the bone causing irritation and eventually damage.  

Importance of Foot Bursae

The feet have numerous joints so it’s not surprising they also have several bursae. These little cushions not only ease friction but they also act as shock absorbers. Consequently, they help to minimise wear and tear, which is handy as your entire bodyweight is supported by your feet.  

What Is Bursitis?

The bursa is a sac is made from a synovial membrane, and this membrane produces synovial fluid. 

Sometimes an excess of fluid is produced in individual bursa and the sac becomes inflamed.The result is tenderness, pain, skin redness and swelling.

There are approximately 160 bursae throughout the body and very few of them are prone to inflammation. However, it can occur in the feet and particularly in the forefoot around the base of the big toe. You can imagine how painful this is; it’s impossible to avoid pressure on this area when you’re walking or even standing still. 

What Causes Bursitis?

In general, it’s a result of irritation caused by excessive pressure, overuse, injury or infection.

Here are some examples:

  • Repetitive, high impact activities such as jumping and running
  • Excessive walking – long hikes or fell walking for example
  • Poorly fitting shoes with inadequate support – this creates pressure in the wrong places 
  • Direct trauma such as falling, slipping or car accidents
  • Bunions, corns, flat feet, abnormal joints, or any foot condition that places pressure incorrectly and cause you to alter your gait
  • Underlying conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis or ligament damage.

How to Treat Bursitis

Fortunately, there are several ways to treat the condition, although the right method depends upon the cause. When in doubt have a word with your podiatrist. However, here are a few things you can try yourself.

  • Review your footwear – shoes shouldn’t be too tight or so loose that your feet slip around. 
  • Ensure your toes have plenty of room. You don’t want them to be squeezed in, whatever kind of shoes or boots you wear. 
  • Avoid high heels and pointy toes. They force all your weight onto the front of the foot,and squashing them in makes it even worse – but you knew that, didn’t you?
  • Take a rest and put your feet up whenever possible. 
  • Anti-inflammatory medication may help but always check with the pharmacist before taking anything. 
  • Use an icepack to help decrease the inflammation, but again, check with a professional to ensure this is the right treatment for your particular circumstance. 
  • Use custom-made orthotics – these provide support where it’s needed and relieve pressure where it isn’t required. 

Talk to Feet By Pody – Specialists iall Lower Limb Conditions

Not sure how to deal with a painful condition? Come and talk to the experienced folk at Feet By Pody. We’re specialists in everything from the hips down. 

Call Feet By Pody today at one of our convenient locations in London.