Achilles bursitis, also known as retrocalcaneal
bursitis, is caused by
inflammation of the bursa where the Achilles tendon
attaches to the heel bone. The bursa creates smooth
movement by creating a cushion between the tendons and
muscles and bones.
Achilles bursitis is both
associated with Achilles tendonitis and sometimes
confused with it. Both
Achilles bursitis and
Achilles tendonitis have similar symptoms. For example,
Achilles bursitis and Achilles tendonitis
cause pain and discomfort when pushing off, cause
increased pain in the morning and during walking after
the person has been sedentary for a period of time, and
pain that gets worse with more activity. The only way
the doctor can tell the difference between the two
disorders is by the location of the pain.
bursitis pain is felt about an inch or two lower than
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Achilles bursitis can be caused by
either a repeated friction or by a single blow to the
area. If you are just starting a new exercise
program and do too much at one time, you may be at risk
Achilles bursitis. This is why it is important
to start any new activity slowly and gradually work in
more and more activity over time. This goes for those
who otherwise are in good shape but have not done a
particular type of exercise before. You should also
start out slowly if you have not done a particular type
of exercise in a long time. Poor form or abnormal
biomechanics causing excessive sideways torque of the
Achilles tendon may also be to blame for
Some people think that ill-fitting or
improper shoes to be to blame for causing
bursitis. One idea is that a shoe that has a rigid heel
and fits improperly will cause rubbing over time.
Another idea is that a shoe with too much cushion may
Achilles bursitis because it allows the heel
to sink too deeply into the shoe at the place where the
heel strikes, causing stress on the heel.
In order to treat
bursitis, you should avoid any activity that is painful
as well as take pain medication with anti-inflammatory
properties such at Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen). In
addition, you may be told by your doctor to apply ice on
the area often during the day followed by specific
physical therapy activities which will help you regain
strength and flexibility in the ankle.
bursitis may recur without physical therapy, so you
should make sure that you complete all of the physical
therapy that your doctor recommends.
It may also be helpful to purchase heel
wedges over the counter or have them custom made for
your heel. Heel wedges may help you put less pressure on
the bursa and Achilles tendon.
Achilles bursitis is not
helped significantly by the above treatments and other
treatments may be prescribed. One treatment for
Achilles bursitis is steroid injections directly
to the bursa. Another treatment for
bursitis is ankle casting. Ankle casting is done when
Achilles bursitis is associated with Achilles
tendonitis and it is done for several weeks. The
elimination of movement to the area can allow for better
healing and prevention of further inflammation and pain.
This treatment is very effective in most cases.
Achilles bursitis is
healing, it is important to evaluate if the condition
may have been caused by ill-fitting shoes and, if so, to
change shoes. It is also important to stop running or
walking excessively until the condition is heeled.
Running through the injury and toughening it out will
only make the condition worse and may even lead to a
growth of a bone spur which will create difficulty in
recovering. You may even need surgery if you ignore the
pain and keep going.
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Achilles tendon bursitis may happen at
any time and can be very painful and stubborn. It should
be treated with seriousness so that the condition does
not get worse and become a chronic problem. With quick,
Achilles bursitis can be cured
and with physical therapy, it may be possible to prevent
recurrences. You can prevent Achilles bursitis by
making sure that you have the proper foot wear for the
type of activity that you are doing, that your shoes fit
properly, that the heel is not rubbing and is not too
hard or too soft, to always use proper form, and to
start new activities slowly and build up gradually.
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