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Family Foot & Ankle

How You Get Heel Bursitis (and How to Relieve It)

Heel pain from BursitisWith the holidays now firmly in the rearview mirror, we’re guessing many of you picked up a few new toys or items within the last few weeks—whether it was a gift from family, or simply a nice gift from yourself during post-holiday clearance sales. One thing we hope you didn’t get this holiday season is retrocalcaneal bursitis, painful inflammation of the fluid-filled bursa sac behind your heel.

Although other causes are possible (such as infection), by far the most common cause of heel pain from bursitis is overuse of the ankle joint, particularly through repetitive, high-impact activities. Lots of walking, jumping, and running (say from playing sports, or running through the mall on Christmas Eve) can contribute to the condition. Older people are at higher risk, as are athletes that haven’t yet been properly conditioned to their activity. If you start a particularly difficult or aggressive exercise program or launch yourself into a new sport suddenly, without taking the necessary time to build slowly and get used to new activities, you may find bursitis waiting for you.

Fortunately, the remedy is usually pretty simple: give yourself a break! This condition usually gets better with a little old fashioned rest, so stop whatever it was you were doing to cause the pain and try to limit weight-bearing activity until discomfort recedes. In the meantime, ice and simple OTC painkillers (if you can take them safely) will help you manage pain and swelling.

For those whose symptoms don’t improve with rest, give us a call. If your heel pain is bursitis (and not a similar condition) we’ll help you with a few extra steps, such as physical therapy, stretches, and heel wedges. These simple treatments are designed to minimize pain, reduce painful pressure on sensitive areas, and strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint so they can better protect the bursa from further damage or a recurrence of the condition.

For stubborn heel pain, call Family Foot and Ankle Center and set up an appointment at one of our six convenient offices in and surrounding Cincinnati. Our friendly staff and expert doctors will help you get back on your feet as soon as possible. Dial (513) 728-4800 in Ohio or (859) 282-1572 in Kentucky to set up an appointment today.


Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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