There are many reasons for pain in your heel, but one common pain is heel bursitis. This condition makes simple tasks like walking around your home painful. Understand the causes, symptoms and
treatments of bursitis of the heel, and determine if it is causing your heel pain.
As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions.
Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It
is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.
Some of the symptoms of bursitis in the heel, or retrocalcaneal bursitis, are as described below. Severe pain in the heel area of the foot, sometimes radiating to the ankle, associated with physical
activities like walking, jogging and even on physical contact to the area. The physical signs of heel bursitis, which are noticeable in the heel area, are reddish discoloration of the skin that is
warm to touch.
Bursitis is usually diagnosed after a careful physical examination and a full review of your medical history. If you garden and spend a lot of time on your knees, or if you have rheumatoid arthritis,
tell your doctor, this information can be very helpful. During the physical exam, he or she will press on different spots around the joint that hurts. The goal is to locate the specific bursa that is
causing the problem. The doctor will also test your range of motion in the affected joint. Other tests usually aren?t required to diagnose bursitis, but your doctor may suggest an MRI, X-ray or
ultrasound to rule out other potential causes of pain.
Non Surgical Treatment
The following exercises are commonly prescribed to patients with retrocalcaneal bursitis. You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them.
Generally, they should be performed 2, 3 times daily and only provided they do not cause or increase symptoms. Your physiotherapist can advise when it is appropriate to begin the initial exercises
and eventually progress to the intermediate, advanced and other exercises. As a general rule, addition of exercises or progression to more advanced exercises should take place provided there is no
increase in symptoms. Move your foot and ankle up and down as far as you can go without pain and provided you feel no more than a mild to moderate stretch. Repeat 10, 20 times provided there is no
increase in symptoms. Move your foot and ankle in and out as far as you can go without pain and provided you feel no more than a mild to moderate stretch. Repeat 10, 20 times provided there is no
increase in symptoms. Move your foot and ankle in a circle as large as you can go without pain and provided you feel no more than a mild to moderate stretch. Repeat 10, 20 times in both clockwise and
anticlockwise directions provided there is no increase in symptoms. Calf Stretch with Towel. Begin this stretch in long sitting with your leg to be stretched in front of you. Your knee and back
should be straight and a towel or rigid band placed around your foot as demonstrated. Using your foot, ankle and the towel, bring your toes towards your head as far as you can go without pain and
provided you feel no more than a mild to moderate stretch in the back of your calf, Achilles tendon or leg. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times at a mild to moderate stretch provided the exercise
is pain free.
Surgery to remove the damaged bursa may be performed in extreme cases. If the bursitis is caused by an infection, then additional treatment is needed. Septic bursitis is caused by the presence of a
pus-forming organism, usually staphylococcus aureus. This is confirmed by examining a sample of the fluid in the bursa and requires treatment with antibiotics taken by mouth, injected into a muscle
or into a vein (intravenously). The bursa will also need to be drained by needle two or three times over the first week of treatment. When a patient has such a serious infection, there may be
underlying causes. There could be undiscovered diabetes, or an inefficient immune system caused by human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV).