A bursa is a slippery, fluid sac that acts as a cushion and lubricant between tendons or muscles sliding over bone. Once the bursa is irritated/inflamed it loses its gliding capabilities and any additional movement causes more discomfort.
The retrocalcaneal bursa is located in the back of the heel, between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone. A lot of irritation between the bone and tendon will cause inflammation leading to swelling and pain.
A case of bursitis can affect anyone but it s more common in people that do a lot of walking, running, or jumping. Bursitis is also present in people that have increased their activity levels resulting in more stress to the bursa. In a lot of cases, tight calf muscles, improper footwear, improper training surface, or as a result of biomechanical abnormalities (flat feet, arched feet) can contribute to the problem. In some cases a blunt trauma to the back of the heel can lead to a case of acute bursitis.
Signs and Symptoms
One of the most common symptoms of bursitis is a presence of pain after walking or running followed with redness, swelling and stiffness in the back of the heel. In some cases standing on the toes or wearing high heel shoes might increase the heel pain. If bursitis is left untreated it can lead to hard, bumpy like formations in the back of the heel.
In order to correctly treat retrocalcaneal bursitis, a proper physical assessment is required. In most cases bursitis is misdiagnosed as tendonitis, resulting in an ineffective treatment protocol. Once the detailed history and exam are done we will develop a rehab protocol that will fit your needs and requirements allowing for the quickest recovery. All our treatments involve a three phase rehabilitation protocol focusing on protection, healing and gradual strengthening of the tissue. We will also discuss a maintenance program and make sure to educate the patient about the preventative care and provide guidance on injury prevention techniques.
Bursitis must be treated in a proper manner; otherwise it can lead to other complications, resulting in more tissue damage. If you are having any issues with the heel or foot pain, if you are not recovering in a timely manner please do not hesitate to contact us for a full evaluation.