The inflammation of the Achilles bursa is not to be confused with the, more common, retrocalcaneal bursitis. Although the retro-calcaneal and Achilles bursae are in the similar region of the heel and
their irritation gets treated in almost an identical way, they are two different things.
Overusing your calves, ankles and heels during inappropriate or excessive training or doing repetitive motions for prolonged periods of time can contribute to the development of the this painful
ankle Achilles and retrocalcaneal bursitis aliment. Bursitis in this part of the body often occurs in professional or recreational athletes. Walking, running and jumping can do some damage. (I loved
to skip rope before I suffered my severe hip bursitis.). Injury. This condition may also develop following trauma such as a direct, hard hit to your heel. Footwear. Poorly fitting shoes that are too
tight, too large or have heels can all cause excessive pressure or friction over the bursa in the heel. Infection. Medical problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, sometimes lead to bursitis.
It is not unusual to have Achilles bursitis and tendonitis (inflamed tendon) at the same time. Ankle bursitis is often a genetic condition where you simply inherited a foot type, for example a heel
bone with a prominence, high arch or tight Achilles tendon, that is more prone to the mechanical irritation that leads to the bursitis. Muscle weakness, joint stiffness and poor flexibility
(particularly of the calf muscles) are certainly contributing factors too.
You might have Retrocalcaneal Bursitis if you notice any of the following symptoms. You have pain or tenderness at the back of the heel where the Achille's tendon attaches. Have swelling near the
attachment of the tendon to the heel bone. You have noticed a slowly growing bump on the back of the heel. The back of the heel turns red after getting rubbed in shoes. The back of the heel hurts
worse when you run, walk up hill or wear high heels.
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
Podiatric Care may include using anti-inflammatory oral medications or an injection of medication and local anesthetic to reduce the swelling in the bursa. An injection may be used for both diagnosis
and for treatment. When you go to your doctor, x-rays are usually required to evaluate the structure of your foot and ankle to ensure no other problems exist in this area. They may advise you on
different shoewear or prescribe a custom made orthotic to try and control the foot structure especially if you have excessive pronation. Sometimes patients are sent to Physical Therapy for treatment
as well. To aid in relief of pressure points, some simple padding techniques can be utilized. Most all patients respond to these conservative measures once the area of irritation is removed.
Surgery to remove the damaged bursa may be performed in extreme cases. If the bursitis is caused by an infection, then additional treatment is needed. Septic bursitis is caused by the presence of a
pus-forming organism, usually staphylococcus aureus. This is confirmed by examining a sample of the fluid in the bursa and requires treatment with antibiotics taken by mouth, injected into a muscle
or into a vein (intravenously). The bursa will also need to be drained by needle two or three times over the first week of treatment. When a patient has such a serious infection, there may be
underlying causes. There could be undiscovered diabetes, or an inefficient immune system caused by human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV).