A bursa is a small sack of fluid that sits between a tendon and a bone to help the tendon move smoothly over the bone. The retrocalcaneal bursa in situated in the feet between the Achilles tendon and
the calcaneus or heel bone. With repeated trauma the bursa can become inflamed. Achilles tendon bursitis is often mistaken for achilles tendinitis. It is possible for the athlete to have both
achilles tendinitis and achilles tendon bursitis at the same time which is known as Haglund's syndrome.
The causes and risk factors of retrocalcaneal bursitis are listed below. Identifying the underlying reason the bursa is inflamed will help set a course for treatment. Repetitive use of the ankle.
Retrocalcaneal bursitis is often caused by frequent "mini-traumas." These mini-traumas are often due to excessive walking, jumping, or running. Running uphill, which causes the foot to flex
considerably, can be especially irritating to the retrocalcaneal bursae. People who suddenly intensify their exercise programs without adequate stretching and muscle conditioning may get
retrocalcaneal bursitis. In general, it is often associated with over use of the Achilles attachment, the area where the Achilles tendon fibers attach to the heel.
Pain when activating the Achilles tendon (running and jumping) and when applying pressure at the point of attachment of the tendon on the heel bone. Contrary to the tenderness occurring with
inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the tenderness is localised to the point of attachment to the heel bone.
Your doctor will check for bursitis by asking questions about your past health and recent activities and by examining the area. If your symptoms are severe or get worse even after treatment, you may
need other tests. Your doctor may drain fluid from the bursa through a needle (aspiration) and test it for infection. Or you may need X-rays, an MRI, or an ultrasound.
Non Surgical Treatment
Physical therapy is also used to treat retrocalcaneal bursitis. People with this condition may be instructed to use ice on the heel and ankle several times each day. Ice should be applied for periods
of 15 to 20 minutes. Prolonged use of ice is not recommended because it can stop blood flow if left in place for a long period of time. Exercises and stretches for the Achilles tendon can help to
relieve some of the pressure on the bursae below the tendons. If physical activity must be limited due to a flare-up of this condition, other exercises can be done to maintain fitness. They include
water aerobics and swimming.
It isn't always possible to avoid the sudden blow, bump, or fall that may produce bursitis. But you can protect your body with measures similar to those that protect you from other kinds of overuse
injuries, such as tendinitis. Keep yourself in good shape. Strengthening and flexibility exercises tone muscles that support joints and help increase joint mobility. Don?t push yourself too hard (or
too long). If you?re engaged in physical labor, pace yourself and take frequent breaks. If you?re beginning a new exercise program or a new sport, work up gradually to higher levels of fitness. And
anytime you?re in pain, stop. Work on technique. Make sure your technique is correct if you play tennis, golf, or any sport that may strain your shoulder. Watch out for ?elbow-itis.? If you
habitually lean on your elbow at your work desk, this may be a sign that your chair is uncomfortable or the wrong height. Try to arrange your work space so that you don?t have to lean on your elbow
to read, write, or view your computer screen. Take knee precautions. If you have a task that calls for lots of kneeling (for example, refinishing or waxing a floor), cushion your knees, change
position frequently, and take breaks. Wear the right shoes. High-heeled or ill-fitting shoes cause bunions, and tight shoes can also cause bursitis in the heel. Problems in the feet can also affect
the hips. In particular, the tendons and bursae in the hips can be put under excessive strain by worn-down heels. Buy shoes that fit and keep them in good repair. Never wear a shoe that?s too short
or narrow. Women should save their high heels for special occasions only. Avoid staying in only one position for too long. Get up and walk around for a while or change positions frequently.