Inflammation of the bursa


There are numerous bursas around the foot for the purpose of reducing the pressure on the muscles, tendons and ligaments which lie close to bone projections. The bursas at the achilles tendon are those which most often give rise to symptoms.

Cause: The bursas can become inflamed, produce fluid, swell and become painful with repeated over-load or due to blows.

Symptoms: Pain when applying pressure to the bursa, which sometimes, but far from always, can give the impression of being swollen.

Acute treatment: Click here.

Examination: Medical examination is usually not required in light cases with only minimal tenderness. With more pronounced pain, or lack of improvement, medical examination should always be performed for confirm the diagnosis and commencement of treatment if required. The diagnosis is best made using ultrasound examination.

Treatment: Treatment is primarily concentrated on providing rest. If the provoking factor is known (i.e. tight shoes), this should naturally be corrected. Treatment can be supplemented with rheumatic medicine (NSAID) or injection of corticosteroid in the bursa preceded by draining, which can be best performed if ultrasound-guided.

Rehabilitation: Treatment is completely dependent upon which bursa is inflamed, but the sports activity can be cautiously resumed when the pain has diminished, especially if the provoking factor has been identified and removed.
Also read rehabilitation, general.

Bandage: In some cases a ring of felt (for example) can be taped around the tender bursa which will reduce the pressure from shoes. It is naturally important that the hole in the ring is positioned directly above the bursa.

Complications: If there is not a steady improvement in the condition consideration must be given as to whether the diagnosis is correct, or if complications have arisen:

In rare cases, the bursa can be infected with bacteria. This is a serious condition if the bursa becomes red, warm and increasingly swollen and tender. This condition requires immediate examination and treatment.