How Custom Orthotics Can Treat Foot Bursitis in Runners


Whether you're a professional marathon runner or a weekend jogger, running is a great way to stay in shape both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, running is also a high-impact exercise, and pounding the pavement for miles on end can cause damage to your feet over time.

Bursitis of the feet is a common condition in both amateur and professional runners and can be quite painful and debilitating if it goes untreated. Fortunately, podiatrists can offer a range of treatments for bursitis of the feet, and custom orthotic inserts are one of the most effective treatments available.

What Is Bursitis of the Feet? 

For the joints in your body to move effectively, your skin and muscles must be able to move across bone without causing too much friction. A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac located in or around a joint, that acts as a friction-reducing cushion to allow soft tissues to move across bone freely.

The human body contains well over a hundred of these bursae, and there are numerous bursae in each foot, located near ankle and toe joints. Unfortunately, running can cause significant, repetitive strain to one or more of these bursae, causing them to become inflamed, irritated and painful. This condition is known as bursitis and can affect any bursa in the body, but the bursae in the feet are commonly affected in runners.

What Are the Symptoms of Bursitis? 

The most obvious symptom of bursitis in the feet is a localised area of pain and swelling, located on or near one of the joints in your feet. These swollen areas are most likely to occur on top of or beneath the toes, ball and heel of the affected foot. 

This pain can worsen dramatically when any pressure is placed on the affected part of the foot, especially if you are barefoot. If the affected bursa or bursae become badly swollen and inflamed, they can reduce the range of motion in the foot, causing stiffness and affecting the way you run, walk and stand. Modifying your gait to lessen the pain can cause other problems, such as shin splints, so bursitis in the feet should always be treated promptly.

How Can Custom Orthotics Treat Bursitis?

Podiatrists can provide you with analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications to lessen the pain and inflammation caused by bursitis, but these medications do not treat the underlying cause. Reducing pressure on the affected bursae using custom orthotic inserts will allow them to heal naturally.

Custom orthotic inserts are specialised insoles that are individually designed to match the proper contours of your feet by your podiatrist. They are worn inside your footwear and alter your feet into a more comfortable and less stressful position. If these inserts are used regularly (especially when you run), they will allow your inflamed bursa or bursae to heal more quickly, getting you back up and running as soon as possible. Ask your podiatrist if custom orthotics could help you. 


1 June 2021

Podiatry for children

My son has always been an eager athletics competitor. He loves to run and jump, and especially loves to be the winner. He has been getting a lot of foot pain recently, and I wasn't sure if it was due to growing pains or if he'd been exercising too much. Luckily we found a great pediatric podiatrist who has been able to help him treat the pain and get some new foot inserts and shoes so that he doesn't keep having issues. This blog is all about podiatry for children and should be great for other parents with active kids.