Heel Bursitis Information

Heel Bursitis Information

A properly functioning heel is essential to normal, smooth, and painless gait. The heel is the first area to strike the ground during normal gait, which means it takes the brunt of the stress incurred during walking and running activities. Of course, this also means that the heel is highly prone to injury. One such injury is called heel bursitis.

Anatomy Of The Heel And Bursae

The Achilles tendon can be felt at the back of the ankle. It’s a cord-like structure that’s about 6 inches in length from where it begins in the lower calf and inserts at the calcaneus (heel bone). Tendons connect muscle to bone. When the calf muscles contract, the Achilles tendon is pulled, which then elevates the heel. This cause and effect is essential to walking, running, and jumping motions.

A bursa is a fluid-filled sac. There are hundreds of deep and superficial bursae throughout the human body. They are typically located near major joints. Bursae are situated between bone and soft tissues like tendons, ligaments, muscles, and skin. They serve as a cushioning pad to absorb shock. The fluid within the sac is secreted to assist with friction-free movement as the soft tissues move across a bony area.

There are two main bursae involved in heel bursitis: the subtendinous calcaneal bursa and the subcutaneous calcaneal bursa. Both of these bursa are located near the Achilles tendon. The subtendinous calcaneal bursa, which is also referred to as the retrocalcaneal bursa, is on the back of the heel and is deeply situated between the Achilles tendon and the calcaneus. The subcutaneous calcaneal bursa, which is commonly referred to as the Achilles bursa, is located near the bottom of the heel between the skin and the distal aspect of the Achilles tendon. It’s much more superficial to the Achilles tendon than the subtendinous calcaneal bursa.

What Is Heel Bursitis?

Heel bursitis is a painful condition that occurs when either or both of the heel bursa become inflamed.

What Causes Heel Bursitis?

The inflammation of a bursa can result from any process that irritates or compresses it. The irritation causes the affected bursa to produce too much fluid and swell. In cases of traumatic injury, injured capillaries can leak blood into the bursa and cause it to swell.

Bursitis may be the result of a direct injury to the heel, such as during a car accident, sport-related accident, or fall that causes a forceful impact or abnormal twisting of the foot. It can also occur due to repetitive use, misuse, or overuse, such as seen in athletic over-training. Excessive pressure over the subcutaneous calcaneal bursa, such from wearing shoes that are tight or fit poorly, can also be a causative factor. Septic bursitis occurs secondary to an infection. The infection may occasionally be systemic, but is most often a localized infection from a subcutaneous heel wound that leaks into the underlying bursa. Other risk factors include any of the following:

* existing Achilles tendinitis
* existing Haglund's deformity
* the natural degenerative processes of aging
* improper stretching prior to exercise
* anatomical differences in the lower extremities that impacts gait
* having deformed joints

What Are The Symptoms Of Heel Bursitis?

* pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, and/or warmth at either the bottom of the heel or top of the heel
* depending on the degree of swelling, pain may be a dull ache or substantial enough to cause limping
* running, jumping, and walking activities may exacerbate pain
* wearing poorly fitting, tight, or high-heeled shoes may exacerbate pain

 

 

Strengthening Exercises

These Heel Bursitis Exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility.

Massage Treatment

These Heel Bursitis Massage Techniques are of great value in pain relief; circulation stimulation; dispersing blood and fluid accumulations; swelling reduction; and relaxing muscle spasms, especially when used alongside the Sinew Therapeutics liniments and soaks.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the heel because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the injured heel, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the injured heel as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the heel, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the heel, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the heel can strengthen and regain it's mobility.

 

ACUTE STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on your heel to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the heel. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. Massage your heel with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

 

CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.


CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in your heel that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your heel may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the heel, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the damaged tissues can strengthen to restore stability.


CHRONIC STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your foot with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.

2. Soak your foot with the Sinew Relaxing Soak to relax muscles and tendons that are in spasm, ease joint pain and stiffness, and improve range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.