Bursitis is an inflammation and swelling of a bursa. A bursa is a fluid filled sac which forms underneath the skin and is usually located over the joints. This acts as a cushion between the tendons and the bones. It is like a blister but sits deep in the skin instead of at the surface. It can occur across the body, on your hips, elbows, and knees, as well as the feet. In the feet, bursitis is commonly found at the back and under the heel and at the side of bunion.
Bursitis can often develop due to an injury or repetitive movement such as running. It can also occur if there is an existing infection or as a complication of a pre-existing conditions such as gout. Even if the cause is resolved the swelling may take a bit longer to completely disappear from the area. It depends on where the bursitis is located. If the bursa was caused by infection then antibiotics may be required as it may become septic and this could lead to additional symptoms such as a high temperature or fever.
If the swelling persists, a podiatrist will be able to provide you with a more expert opinion, as they will examine your overall lower-limb biomechanics. There are many simple techniques such as applying ice packs, reducing the inflammation and pain, or over the counter painkillers. However, if there is a severe swelling, you will need to get the fluid drained. This procedure is also known as aspiration and can relieve the pain and improve the range of movement in your joints. During aspiration, a needle is used to draw out the fluid from the bursa.
In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to remove the affected area as septic bursitis is not always adequately controlled by antibiotics. Having surgery either involves removing the bursa completely or making an incision in the skin and draining the fluid.