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Plantar heel (Calcaneal) bursitis

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What is Plantar heel bursitis?

Bursitis is inflammation and pain of a bursa. Bursae are fluid filled sacs found where tendons, muscles and other soft tissues run close to bone and they act as a soft structure to separate the tissues from the bone and allow more frictionless movement.

Bursa however can become inflamed and very painful due to excessive load, friction, pressure and even trauma.

A common bursitis of the foot is the plantar heel or calcaneal bursa which lays under the heel between the plantar fascia and the heel bone.

Inflammation of this bursa is usually linked to plantar fasciitis or “heel spur syndrome”.

How can I help myself?

Generally, POLICE therapy can be applied to an inflamed bursa. Reducing aggravating activities and impact such as running or jumping, and also reducing any irritation from footwear such as thin soled shoes or high heels may be useful. Also anti-inflammatory and pain medications may be useful.

Footwear is very important, so have a look at this link for more information.

When to see a Podiatrist?

Due to the complex nature of this problem in relation to heel pain, it is a good idea to see a Podiatrist for an assessment.

Insoles or foot orthoses can be used to help offload the area, but they will probably benefit from being made or at least modified for your specific needs. This is something a Podiatrist can offer, along with stretching and strengthening work. A podiatrist will be able to assess the problem and develop a management plan for you, including imaging (X-ray, Ultrasound or MRI) if appropriate.

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