Foot Bursitis: The What, Why, and How

From the moment you could walk, your feet are always being used. Your feet have more parts than you realize, giving them a wide range of motion. They are also prone to injuries and conditions thanks to the weight they bear.

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One example is bursitis, which can affect how you move and live your life.

What is Foot Bursitis?

Fluid-filled sacs called bursae can be found between your bones and muscles or soft tissues. They reduce friction between these parts, keeping them from grinding against one another.

Bursae are also found in your feet, particularly at:

  • the ball of the foot
  • the base of the bone that connects your ankle to your small toe
  • the back of the heel

They reduce friction in your ankle joints and cushion your feet when you walk. When bursae become inflamed, it is known as bursitis. Swelling of your feet bursa means that you have foot bursitis. This condition is also called "bursitis in foot."

Foot bursitis can cause swelling, redness, stiffness, and joint pain.

Why Do You Have Foot Bursitis?

You may develop bursitis from your usual daily activities or the following things:

Repetitive Motions

Activities like jumping and kicking can cause you to develop bursitis in the affected joint. Walking long distances daily or climbing several flights of stairs can also lead to is. 

Too Much Pressure

Too much pressure can irritate your bursae. Your feet are especially prone to this as they support your entire weight. Walking on hard or irregular surfaces without support or protection can also cause bursitis. 

Also, an epidermal cyst can grow to a size that can put pressure on your foot’s bursae.

Uncomfortable Footwear

Wearing shoes that don’t fit or are uncomfortable can put too much pressure on your feet. More so if you play sports or work in them regularly. The bursa experience this pressure. That's why wearing these kinds of footwear may cause pain and swelling.

Trauma and Injury

The bursae can get injured, which leads to bleeding or too much fluid. A hard blow to your feet, like suddenly stepping on a pointed surface, can cause bursitis. 

Other injuries can also occur during exercise. Not warming up or stretching before exercising may hurt your bursae. 


An infection may cause the bursae to swell, leading to bursitis. Infections may result from scratches, an open wound, or even an insect bite.

Having an infected bursa is rare. But chronic conditions like diabetes can make you more likely to have an infection.

Inflammatory Disorders

Soft tissue conditions can cause foot bursitis. These are usually inflammatory.

Some examples are gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. That also includes psoriatic arthritis and reactive arthritis.

How Is Bursitis Treated?

There are many ways to treat bursitis in your feet. These methods can reduce pain and restore your range of motion.

Your doctor may have to get your medical history and perform a physical exam. Then, they will determine the best treatment.


Rest when you start to experience the symptoms of foot bursitis, such as pain or stiffness.

Avoid activities that put pressure on the affected area. These include walking, running, and jumping. 

Cold Therapy

Foot bursitis causes pain in the area around the inflamed bursa. Using a cold compress or an ice pack can reduce these symptoms. 

Ice works because cold temperatures constrict your blood vessels. This leads to decreased circulation in the area, which causes inflammation. The cold also numbs your nerves and helps with the pain.

Apply the ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes three to four times daily. Wrapping a light towel around it is recommended.

Support Your Feet

Avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes, like those that are too tight or have stiff heels. 

Wear pairs with proper arch support and an Achilles notch. This is a U-shaped or V-shaped indentation in the shoe’s collar to lessen pressure. You can also support your feet by wearing pads or over-the-counter heel wedges.

Pads will reduce the pressure and pain felt by the bursa. Heel wedges help you adjust your walking form to reduce heel irritation.

Physical Therapy



Physical therapy can help if bursitis hinders you from moving your foot. You can learn exercises that can strengthen and stretch your joints.

For the bursa around the Achilles tendon, stretching the tendon can ease the pressure. Range of motion exercises for your calf muscle, ankle joint, and foot are also great.


If your bursitis is from an infection, you have to deal with the underlying cause. Oral antibiotics can help treat the infection.

Over-the-counter medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help. They reduce the pain and swelling caused by foot bursitis. But NSAIDs are not for everyone, so check with your doctor before using them. 

Another treatment your doctor may recommend is corticosteroid injections. They can decrease inflammation and relieve pain.


Surgery carries a lot of risks when compared to others treatments. But it can help if other options fail to relieve your condition.

Bursectomy is where your orthopedic surgeon removes the affected bursa to help you recover.  But it is rarely needed, as most cases of chronic pain from bursitis resolve on their own. 

How Can I Prevent Foot Bursitis?

There are many ways to prevent bursitis, and they require focusing on your health and well-being.

Warm Up Before Exercising

Not warming up before exercising can cause injuries. These include injuries in your feet, particularly around your bursae.

Your body must be prepared before performing strenuous and repetitive activities like working out.

Wear Appropriate Footwear



Wearing comfortable shoes can help treat and prevent bursitis. This is very important for people who are physically active.

Wearing appropriate footwear can help prevent bursitis pain and pressure in your feet.

Learn Proper Technique

A poorly positioned joint can result in sudden injury in your feet, leading to bursitis.

Try practicing proper posture and positioning your body, especially your feet. Doing this will help you avoid injuries. Proper technique will also remove excess pressure from your bursae.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Your feet support your weight every time you stand up, meaning they experience so much pressure. To relieve it, maintaining a healthy weight is recommended. 

Take Frequent Breaks

Your body wears out whenever you perform an activity with repetitive movements.  Eventually, this will lead to injury, which is one way to develop bursitis. 

Whenever you feel exhausted or your feet start to feel sore, stop what you are doing and rest.  

To Wrap Up

Bursitis is a painful condition that can be caused by a number of reasons. These are particularly inflammatory disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, your health is a primary factor in determining whether your feet will develop bursitis.

Staying healthy can help keep your feet safe from bursitis. If you want something to help you achieve your goals, try Health Quest 365's Organic Greens 365!


For Best Results Get Foot Bursitis: The What, Why, and How Workbook