Calcaneal Bursitis

Arizona Orthopedic Surgery Solutions for Calcaneal Bursitis

Table of Contents - Calcaneal Bursitis
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    What is Calcaneal Bursitis

    Every mile you walk puts 60 tons of stress on each foot. Your feet can handle a heavy load, but too much stress pushes them over their limits. When you pound your feet on hard surfaces playing sports or wear shoes that irritate sensitive tissues, you may develop heel pain, the most common problem affecting the foot and ankle.

    A sore heel will usually get better on its own without surgery if you give it enough rest. However, many people try to ignore the early signs of heel pain and keep on doing the activities that caused it. When you continue to use a sore heel, it will only get worse and could become a chronic condition leading to more problems. Surgery is rarely necessary.

    Calcaneal Bursitis Diagnosis

    Calcaneal bursitis is most often a culprit of wearing improper footwear. Shoes that fit too tight and cause friction along the back of the heel will agitate the bursa. High-heeled shoes and athletes wearing poorly-fitting shoes experience calcaneal bursitis the most. Discomfort or pain, inflammation, and redness are all signs of calcaneal bursitis. A doctor needs to confirm the pain is not caused by any other form of arthritis, a fracture, or muscle or ligament tear. Additionally, a doctor needs to rule out the pain does not stem from Achilles tendinopathy. To do so, a doctor will interview a patient about their medical history, when the pain and symptoms first occurred, and if there was a recurrence to the symptoms. Next, the doctor will perform a physical exam of the foot, seeing where the inflammation lies, the specific spots of sensitivity, and how much range of motion the foot and heel still have. An x-ray, MRI, and ultrasound will allow the doctor an in-depth look into the pain, making it possible to rule out any other ailments. Sometimes, if the bursa appears to have ruptured and infection is possible, a doctor will need to drain some of the fluid from the bursa, known as an aspiration, and send the sample away to be tested in a lab. You may need a gram stain to know if there are harmful bacteria in the bursa, as well as a white blood cell count and glucose level evaluation. A high white blood cell count concludes an infection in the bursa, while a low glucose level can also determine an infection may be present.

    Calcaneal Bursitis Treatment

    Bursitis is caused by the inflammation of the fluid-filled sac, known as the “bursa,” behind the heel bone. The best thing to do is rest the heel by not participating in activities that agitate the heel. Additionally, it is important to ice the heel for twenty minutes multiple times each day. Heel wedges, heel gels, orthotics, and insoles are all excellent ways to help alleviate the pain from the heel. Over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen, may be taken to help relieve pain. An ultrasound may be used to decrease swelling during physical therapy sessions. Focus on increasing flexibility and strengthening the areas around the heel and ankle. It is important to stretch the Achilles Tendon to rid the heel of bursitis and keep it from returning. On rare occasions, if the bursitis is linked to Achilles Tendinitis, an ankle brace will need to be worn for a few weeks with the possibility of a steroidal injection into the bursa. In serious cases, surgery is used to remove the inflamed bursa altogether.