Beating Bursitis in Your Heel and Toe

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Race car drivers use an efficient method of driving called heel-and-toe downshifting. It takes a while to learn how to use both feet to brake and blip the throttle while pressing the clutch to shift efficiently. The benefits are less wear and tear on your engine and transmission, and improved control and performance for the repetitive shifting you need to do during a race. Too bad there aren’t efficient methods for doing repetitive motions with your feet, so you don’t end up with wear and tear that can cause heel and toe bursitis and limit your mobility and performance.

Summer sandy feetWhat Is Bursitis?

The condition gets its name from bursa—a sac filled with fluid that cushions your tissues—and “itis”—a suffix meaning inflammation. Think of bursae like tiny, flat water balloons, nestled between your bones and other tissues. You can feel the cushioning if you roll a water balloon between your palms. This is how these sacs of synovial fluid act to cushion your bones and other tissues from friction during movement. You have many bursae in your body (shoulder, elbow, and knee). In your feet, problems with these sacs most often occur in your heel (under it or where the Achilles tendon is attached) and your big toe joint where it joins your foot.

Feeling the Pain

Standing or walking all day at work, running and jumping from sports, or traumatic injury to your foot can all cause bursitis. With repetitive motion, the sacs build up extra fluid to offer more protection for your tissues. With an injury, bones or ligaments can move out of position so the bursa doesn’t fit, or extra blood or edema could put pressure on it. All these cause the bursa to swell or become inflamed, and that means pain. The joint may feel achy, stiffen up, or be red and swollen. It will especially hurt if you press on the area. If the bursa is punctured, it can become infected as well.

To Heal—Get Off the Track

When you have these symptoms, the worst thing you can do is keep racing around doing the same activities. You need to get out of the race and off the track. Rest and immobilization are the first treatments for bursitis. Stay off your feet as much as possible, and when you do put weight on them, wear comfortable, cushiony shoes or slippers. Applying ice packs for fifteen minutes, several times a day, can help reduce swelling and alleviate the pain.

If your pain doesn’t go away after a few days, or you develop excessive swelling or redness, bruising, rash, or fever, it’s time to get medical help. At Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic we can perform corticosteroid injections to help reduce the inflammation and pain, and therapy to strengthen muscles in the area so you are less likely to develop the problem again.

A Winning Combination

With Chiropodist Tony Abbott providing excellent diagnosis and foot care, and your commitment to following through with rest, icing, and any exercises that can help, you will cross the finish line a winner. Don’t ignore painful feet. Call our office in Collingwood, ON today at (705) 444-9929 and set up an appointment to deal with your bursitis, or any other foot and ankle condition you may have. You can also keep in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for current foot care information.