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.
Bursitis, tendinitis, and other soft tissue rheumatic syndromes typically result from one or more factors. These include: Play or work activities that cause overuse or injury to the joint areas
Incorrect posture Stress on the soft tissues from an abnormal or poorly positioned joint or bone (such as leg length differences or arthritis in a joint) Other diseases or conditions (rheumatoid
arthritis, gout, psoriasis, thyroid disease, or an unusual drug reaction) Infection.
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.
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
Long Term Treatment must be directed towards eliminating the abnormal tilting of the heel, regardless of its cause. If this is delayed, the usual results are the pain and swelling becomes worse,
chronic, and debilitating. Eventually, painful calcifications and bone spur formations may occur on the back of the heel, along with tears in the Achilles Tendon. These are serious problems that may
require surgical intervention. In order to eliminate abnormal heel tilt, the foot must be re-balanced. Controlling and reducing the biomechanical foot defects that are causing the heel to tilt best
accomplish this. The "Gold Standard" of medical care (that treatment most used by doctors and therapists) to help eliminate pain, inflammation, and swelling at the back of the heel is
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).