Heel bursitis is a common complaint that we see in the sports therapy clinic here in Coventry & Kenilworth, and one of the leading causes is heel pain. This condition can be incredibly painful and debilitating, affecting your ability to run, walk or even stand comfortably. But does heel bursitis ever go away? And more importantly, how can you get rid of heel pain bursitis? In this blog post, we’ll explore these questions and provide some helpful insights into managing overcoming this condition.
Understanding Heel Bursitis
Before we delve into how to get rid of heel pain bursitis, it’s important to understand what it is. Heel bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa located at the back of the heel. The bursa is a small sac filled with lubricating fluid that reduces friction between tissues in your body. When this sac becomes inflamed due to overuse or injury, it can cause significant discomfort and pain.
Symptoms often include swelling, redness, warmth in the affected area, and severe pain during activities that put pressure on the heel like walking or running. It’s also common for sufferers to experience increased discomfort when they first wake up in the morning or after long periods of sitting. People who spend a lot of time on their feet along with runners and walkers tend to be more prone to developing this condition. This is normally as a result of a change in footwear, exercise intensity such as a sudden increase in distance or pace.
Does Heel Bursitis Ever Go Away?
The good news for those suffering from this condition is that yes; heel bursitis can indeed go away with proper treatment and care. However, recovery time varies from person to person depending on factors such as age, overall health status, severity of symptoms, and adherence to treatment plans.
It’s important to note that while symptoms may subside with rest and treatment, if the underlying cause (like improper footwear or poor biomechanics) isn’t addressed, there’s a high likelihood that the condition will recur.
How To Get Rid of Heel Pain Bursitis
There are several strategies that can help alleviate the symptoms of heel bursitis and promote healing. Here are some effective ways on how to get rid of heel pain bursitis:
1. Rest and Elevation: Giving your body time to heal is crucial. Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain and try to keep your foot elevated as much as possible to reduce swelling.
2. Ice Therapy: Applying ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time during an acute flare up can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from pain. 15 to 20 minute ice compresions can be applied every 4 to 6 waking hours during the first 72 hours of an acute flare up. Do remember to use a towel as a barrier when using ice to help with tissue healing, as placing ice on bare skin can cause ice burns, which in turn will introduce additional complications.
3. Physical/ Sports Therapy: A sports/ physical therapist can provide exercises and stretches that strengthen the muscles around your heel, improving flexibility and reducing pressure on the bursa.
4. Medication: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help manage pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, a doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections.
5. Proper Footwear: Wearing shoes with good arch support and cushioning can reduce stress on your heel, preventing further irritation of the bursa.
6. Orthotics: Custom-made shoe inserts may be recommended by your doctor or physiotherapist to correct any biomechanical issues contributing to your heel bursitis.
Surgical Intervention for Heel Bursitis
In rare cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgery may be considered as a last resort option. The procedure typically involves removing the inflamed bursa to relieve pressure on the surrounding tissues. However, like any surgery, it comes with potential risks and complications, so it’s important to discuss this option thoroughly with your healthcare provider.
While dealing with heel bursitis can be challenging, understanding that it is indeed a condition that can improve over time with appropriate treatment is reassuring. By incorporating strategies such as rest, ice, physical therapy, well fitted footwear and possibly orthotics can have positive outcomes in the treatment of heel pain. Medication can be used to ease pain and reduce inflammation. Surgery is normally an option that is explored when all else has failed. Always remember to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised advice and treatment options. If you’re suffering with bursitis, get in touch with Sports Therapy One and we’ll be happy to assist you further.