Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that act as shock absorbers and cushions for our bones and tendons. There are two such sacs located on the back of your heel. The subtendinous calcaneal, also called
retrocalcaneal bursa, is situated between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone (calcaneus). The subcutaneous calcaneal bursa, which is also referred to as the Achilles bursa, is found on the
backside of the heel and Achilles. If either or both of these bursae become inflamed, the result is pain and tenderness.
Systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, pancreatitis, Whipple disease, oxalosis,
uremia, hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy, and idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome have also been associated with bursitis.
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.
To begin with, your doctor will gather a medical history about you and your current condition and symptoms. He/she will inquire about the level of your heel pain, the how long you have had the
symptoms and the limitations you are experiencing. Details about what and when the pain started, all are very helpful in providing you with a diagnoses of your ankle / heel.
Non Surgical Treatment
Medications may be used to reduce the inflammation and pain of retrocalcaneal bursitis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen can be purchased without a
prescription and used to treat mild to moderate pain. These drugs are often used in combination with a physical therapy program or other retrocalcaneal bursitis treatments.
Surgery is rarely need to treat most of these conditions. A patient with a soft tissue rheumatic syndrome may need surgery, however, if problems persist and other treatment methods do not help