Retrocalcaneal bursitis is the inflammation of the retrocalcaneal bursa, which is located behind the heel bone, also known as the calcaneal bone (hence the name retrocalcaneal). The retrocalcaneal
bursa is a thin, slippery, fluid-filled sac that serves as a both a cushion and lubricant between the heel bone and the Achilles tendon. Inflammation of the retrocalcaneal bursa usually results from
irritation of the bursa. This irritation may be due to certain activities, an underlying health condition such as arthritis, or an abnormality of the foot, such the development of a boney prominence
on the calcaneal bone, called a Haglund's deformity.
Bursitis occurs when the synovial lining becomes thickened and produces excessive fluid, leading to localized swelling and pain. It most commonly affects the subacromial, olecranon, trochanteric,
prepatellar, and infrapatellar bursae. Symptoms of bursitis may include localized tenderness, pain, edema, erythema, or reduced movement. Pain is aggravated by movement of the specific joint, tendon,
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.
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
Physiotherapy treatment is vital to hasten the healing process, ensure an optimal outcome and reduce the likelihood of injury recurrence in all patients with retrocalcaneal bursitis. Treatment may
comprise soft tissue massage (particularly to the calf muscles), joint mobilization (of the ankle, subtalar joint and foot), dry needling, electrotherapy (e.g. ultrasound), stretches, the use of heel
wedges, the use of crutches, ice or heat treatment, arch support taping, the use of a compression bandage, exercises to improve strength, flexibility, balance and core stability, education,
anti-inflammatory advice, activity modification advice, biomechanical correction (e.g. the use of orthotics), footwear advice, a gradual return to activity program.
After taking a history and performing a physical examination, your physician may order x-rays to rule out other disorders. Your doctor may administer injections of corticosteroids and a local
anesthetic to reduce swelling and ease pain. Also, to reduce swelling, your physician may draw excess fluid from the bursa with a syringe and then tightly wrap and compress the joint with an elastic
bandage. In severe, persistent cases surgery to remove the bursa may be necessary. For infectious bursitis, antibiotics will be prescribed.