Achilles bursitis is one of those injuries that can really bring down the quality of your life. Anyone, young or old, can suffer from this injury, and if you're active this condition will keep you
from doing the things you love to do. It will even start interrupting any of your normal daily tasks and make living life harder than it really needs to be. Fortunately for you, professional athletes
have had access to state of the art treatment therapies for years that allow them to heal more quickly and completely than you or I. This is why athletes that have a serious heel bursitis injury can
often get back in the game in a matter of weeks while you could suffer for months or even years (in chronic cases).
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,
Pain or tenderness at the back of the heel around the Achilles region. Increased pain during activities with strong, repetitive calf contractions, walking (uphill), stair climbing, running, jumping.
Pain may be worse with rest after activity (that night or the next morning) or at the beginning of the excercise. Pain when wearing shoes and the heel is getting rubbed. Bump forming on the back of
the heel. Limping. Stiffness. Decreased range of motion. Redness and warmth (if the bursa gets infected).
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
During the initial acute phase of the condition, patients should apply ice to the back of the heel for 15 to 20 minutes and follow the R.I.C.E.R regime. Avoid activities that cause pain. Gradual
progressive stretching of the calf muscle and Achilles tendon is also advocated. Changing the footwear. Wearing an open-backed shoe may help relieve pressure on the affected region. For those whose
symptoms were caused by a sudden change from wearing high-heeled shoes to flat shoes, the temporary use of footwear with a heel height in between may be helpful. Inserting a heel cup in the shoe may
help to raise the inflamed region slightly above the shoe?s restricting heel counter and relieve the pain. It is advisable to also insert the heel cup into the other shoe to avoid any leg-leg
discrepancies that can lead to other problems. Training frequency and intensity should be gradually progressed with adequate rest between trainings.
Only if non-surgical attempts at treatment fail, will it make sense to consider surgery. Surgery for retrocalcanel bursitis can include many different procedures. Some of these include removal of the
bursa, removing any excess bone at the back of the heel (calcaneal exostectomy), and occasionally detachment and re-attachment of the Achilles tendon. If the foot structure and shape of the heel bone
is a primary cause of the bursitis, surgery to re-align the heel bone (calcaneal osteotomy) may be considered. Regardless of which exact surgery is planned, the goal is always to decrease pain and
correct the deformity. The idea is to get you back to the activities that you really enjoy. Your foot and ankle surgeon will determine the exact surgical procedure that is most likely to correct the
problem in your case. But if you have to have surgery, you can work together to develop a plan that will help assure success.