Retrocalcaneal bursitis is an inflammation or infection of the bursae at the back of the heel bone. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints and prevent the bones from becoming injured
due to friction. Because this condition can cause pain and difficulty moving, getting treatment is important. There are several retrocalcaneal bursitis treatment options available. Patients and
physicians should work together to determine the best treatment based on the symptoms and severity of the condition.
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.
Nagging ache and swelling in or around a joint. Painful and restricted movement in the affected joint. Pain radiating into the neck or arms when bursitis strikes the shoulder (the most common site).
Fever, when associated with an infection.
A physical examination will be performed to determine if you have any signs of Achilles Bursitis or other ankle injury. He/she will look and feel the soft tissue and bones in your ankles to note any
differences between the two of them. This will identify any abnormalities, such as swelling, bone deformities, atrophied muscles, redness and/or warmth on the skin. In many cases, the first sign that
you have Achilles bursitis is swelling in the back of the foot and ankle pain.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment is primarily comprised of relief from the painful activity (running). It is important that shoes do not pinch the heel. If satisfactory progress is not made during the rehabilitation,
medical treatment can be considered in the form of rheumatic medicine (NSAID) or injection of corticosteroid in the bursa. Injections should be performed under ultrasound guidance to ensure optimal
effect and reduce the risk of injecting into the Achilles itself. If progress is not made neither through rehabilitation nor medicinal treatment, surgical treatment can be attempted.
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).
Contact your physician if bursitis pain is disabling (when movement of the joint is largely or entirely restricted), if the pain doesn?t subside after a week of self-care, or if the joint is red and
swollen. Also call your doctor if you develop a fever, which could signal infectious bursitis-a condition that especially can afflict the elbow. Except for the fever, symptoms resemble other forms of
bursitis, but infectious bursitis requires immediate medical attention.