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 several factors which can lead to a person developing retrocalcaneal bursitis. In athletes, especially runners, overtraining, sudden excessive increase in running mileage may lead to
retrocalcaneal bursitis. Tight or ill-fitting shoes can be another causative factor as they can produce excessive pressure at the back of the heel due to restrictive heel counter. A person with an
excessively prominent posterosuperior aspect of the heel bone (Haglund deformity) may also have a higher predisposition to retrocalcaneal bursitis. In such individuals, pain would be reproduced when
the ankle goes into dorsiflexion.
Achiness or stiffness in the affected joint. Worse pain when you press on or move the joint. A joint that looks red and swollen (especially when the bursae in the knee or elbow are affected). A joint
that feels warm to the touch, compared to the unaffected joint, which could be a sign that you have an infection in the bursa. A ?squishy? feeling when you touch the affected part. Symptoms that
rapidly reappear after an injury or sharp blow to the affected area.
A physical examination will be performed to determine if you have any signs of Achilles Bursitis or other ankle injury. He/she will look and feel the soft tissue and bones in your ankles to note any
differences between the two of them. This will identify any abnormalities, such as swelling, bone deformities, atrophied muscles, redness and/or warmth on the skin. In many cases, the first sign that
you have Achilles bursitis is swelling in the back of the foot and ankle pain.
Non Surgical Treatment
You should rest from all activities that cause pain or limping. Use crutches/cane until you can walk without pain or limping. Ice. Place a plastic bag with ice on the foot for 15-20 minutes, 3-5
times a day for the first 24-72 hours. Leave the ice off at least 1 1/2 hours between applications. Compression. Lightly wrap an elastic bandage from the toes to mid calf, using even pressure. Wear
this until swelling decreases. Loosen the wrap if your toes start to turn blue or feel cold. Elevate. Make sure to elevate the ankle above heart level. To improve symptoms of plantar calcaneal
bursitis after the acute phasetry the baked bean tin stretch, using a baked bean tin roll the foot backwards and forwards. 2 minutes in the morning before putting the foot to the floor. 5-10 minutes
every evening. Contrast foot baths. 10 minutes warm water. 10 minutes cool water morning and evening (morning may be missed if time is restricted). Stretches. Start with 10 stretches per day, holding
the stretch for 30 seconds, then relax and then repeat. Continue this stretch daily until you can no longer feel it pulling on the heel, then progress to stretch. Do 10 per day holding for 30 seconds
per stretch. When you can no longer feel it pulling on the heel proceed to stretches. Do 10 per day holding for 30 seconds on every stretch.
Surgery. Though rare, particularly challenging cases of retrocalcaneal bursitis might warrant a bursectomy, in which the troublesome bursa is removed from the back of the ankle. Surgery can be
effective, but operating on this boney area can cause complications, such as trouble with skin healing at the incision site. In addition to removing the bursa, a doctor may use the surgery to treat
another condition associated with the retrocalcaneal bursitis. For example, a surgeon may remove a sliver of bone from the back of the heel to alter foot mechanics and reduce future friction. Any
bone spurs located where the Achilles attaches to the heel may also be removed. Regardless of the conservative treatment that is provided, it is important to wait until all pain and swelling around
the back of the heel is gone before resuming activities. This may take several weeks. Once symptoms are gone, a patient may make a gradual return to his or her activity level before their bursitis
symptoms began. Returning to activities that cause friction or stress on the bursa before it is healed will likely cause bursitis symptoms to flare up again.