Heel bursitis is also known as retrocalcaneal bursitis. The heel bone is called calcaneus, and the bursa associated with the heel bone is located in the area between the Achilles tendon and calf
muscles. When this particular bursa gets aggravated due to constant pressure in the ankle, the posterior end of the heel or the area behind the heel gets inflamed and hence the result is
retrocalcaneal bursitis. Strain to the ankles could be caused due to various reasons like extraneous jogging, skipping, or such physical activities that increase the pressure on the ankles.
Bursitis can develop for several reasons, including repetitively engaging in the same motion, or example, lifting objects above your head for work. Putting a lot of pressure on a bursa for an
extended period of time. Leaning on your elbows or kneeling (for example, to lay carpet) can cause bursitis in the elbows or knees. If you sit for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces,
you may develop bursitis in your hip. Wearing shoes with a stiff back that rubs against the back of the ankle can cause Achilles tendon bursitis. Trauma. The bursae at the knee and elbow are close to
the surface of the skin, and if you fall directly on your elbow or the knee, you can rupture, injure or puncture a bursa. Infection. Known as septic bursitis, it?s the result of bacteria infecting a
bursa. It can occur from an infection traveling from another site or following an accident that ruptures the bursa. Even scraping the skin on your elbow or getting a mosquito bite that breaks the
skin near the olecranon bursa (near the elbow) can lead to bursitis. Other joint disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout, or health conditions.
When the bursa becomes inflamed after an injury, symptoms usually develop suddenly. When the bursa develops without an injury, symptoms may develop gradually. With both posterior and anterior
Achilles tendon bursitis, symptoms usually include swelling and warmth at the back of the heel. A minimally red, swollen, tender spot develops on the back of the heel. When the inflamed bursa
enlarges, it appears as a red lump under the skin of the heel and causes pain at and above the heel. If posterior Achilles tendon bursitis becomes chronic, the swelling may become hard, fluid-filled,
and red or flesh-colored.
Like all other forms of bursitis, initially the physician will take down the history of symptoms experienced by the patient, this will be followed by a detailed physical examination which involves
checking for inflammation signs like pain, redness, and warmth of the heel area. The physician might examine further by moving the ankle a little to determine the exact location of pain. Further
diagnostic tests including x-ray, bone scans, and MRI scan might be suggested if required.
Non Surgical Treatment
Orthotics may assist heel bursitis by providing stability to the heel, reduce any foot functioning abnormalities and provide extra support for the feet. The orthotic achieves this by maintaining
correct foot posture, therefore facilitating normal functioning of the Achilles tendon. Icing the back of the heel post activity for temporary relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such
as ibuprofen can reduce inflammation of the bursa. Stretching of the calf muscle may reduce the pulling on the heel by the Achilles tendon. Shoes that have an elevated heel may reduce pulling on the
heel from the Achilles tendon. Resting the painful heel may reduce inflammation and pain. Surgical removal of the painful bursa is a last resort treatment when all other treatments have failed.
Bursectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove an inflamed or infected bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between tissues of the body. Because retrocalcaneal bursitis can
cause chronic inflammation, pain and discomfort, bursectomy may be used as a treatment for the condition when it is persistent and cannot be relived with other treatments. During this procedure, a
surgeon makes small incisions so that a camera may be inserted into the joint. This camera is called an arthroscope. Another small incision is made so that surgical instruments can be inserted to
remove the inflamed bursa.
Protect that part of the body that may be most vulnerable, If you have to kneel a lot, get some knee pads. Elbow braces can protect tennis and golf players. If you are an athlete or avid walker,
invest in some good walking or running shoes. When doing repetitive tasks have breaks. Apart from taking regular breaks, try varying your movements so that you are using different parts of your body.
Warm up before exercise. Before any type of vigorous exercise you should warm up for at least 5 to 10 minutes. The warm up could include walking at a good speed, slow jogging, or a cycling machine.
Strong muscles add extra protection to the area. If you strengthen the muscles in the area where you had bursitis (after you are better), especially the area around the joint, you will have extra
protection from injury. Make sure you do this well after your bursitis has gone completely.