There are only a couple more weeks to get out on a Friday night to cheer on the Pleasanton High School football team! Sports are great fun, but they can often cause injuries to the players. Your son or daughter may complain of pain at the back of their ankles after soccer practice or a football game, or you could feel discomfort after a strenuous weekend run. You might think it is Achilles tendonitis, but there is another condition, called bursitis, that can cause similar symptoms.

Bursae are sacs of fluid that provide a cushion where tendons and bones meet. Try this experiment: rub your palms together, and notice how it feels. Now take a slightly filled water balloon and roll it between your palms. You can see how the balloon lets your hands move much more smoothly, without irritating the skin. This is similar to the way a bursa functions between tendon and bone.

One bursa occurs naturally in your foot. It is at the back of your ankle, between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the Achilles tendon. Your feet experience a lot of repetitive motion while pushing off from the line, changing directions, or running around during sports, and the bursa protects the Achilles where it attaches to the heel bone. However, in protecting these other tissues, the bursa itself can become irritated and inflamed.

Your Achilles can also become damaged with overuse, but the pain of an inflamed Achilles usually manifests a little higher above your ankle, while bursitis will hurt more right at the heel bone. This bursa can also be irritated by a bone spur called Haglund’s deformity that forms in response to friction from footwear with stiff, tight heels.

So tendonitis or bursitis: which do you have? Since you may not be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your pain in your foot, it is a good idea to let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic take a look at it. We can diagnose exactly what’s going on and help you choose the best treatment. Often that will be conservative methods you can follow at home. Give us a call at (830) 569-3338 and set up an appointment at our office in Pleasanton, TX.


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