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).
Age. Bursitis is more common during middle age due to repetitive activities that put wear and tear on the body over time. Certain activities or occupations. If your job or hobby involves repetitive
motion or puts pressure on bursae, you have a higher likelihood of developing bursitis. Reaching overhead, leaning elbows on arm rests, crossing your legs, laying carpet, setting tile, gardening,
biking, playing baseball and ice skating are some activities that, when repeated very often, can put you at increased risk of developing bursitis. Sports in which you may get hit in the knee or fall
to the knees, such as football, can also increase the risk. Some medical or health conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, thyroid disease, diabetes, alcoholism and some
immunosuppressive disorders can increase the risk of bursitis. The reasons can vary, from cartilage breakdown around joints (arthritis) to crystals in the bursa that cause inflammation (gout).
Wearing high heels. Posterior Achilles tendon bursitis occurs when the bursa located between the skin and the Achilles tendon (the band of tissue that attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone)
becomes inflamed. High heels are often to blame for this, the stiff heel can put direct pressure on the bursa between the skin and the Achilles tendon.
Bursitis involving the heel causes pain in the middle of the undersurface of the heel that worsens with prolonged standing and pain at the back of the heel that worsens if you bend your foot up or
The doctor will discuss your symptoms and visually assess the bones and soft tissue in your foot. If a soft tissue injury is suspected, an MRI will likely be done to view where and how much the
damage is in your ankle. An x-ray may be recommended to rule out a bone spur or other foreign body as the cause of your ankle pain. As the subcutaneous bursa is close to the surface of the skin, it
is more susceptible to septic, or infectious, bursitis caused by a cut or scrape at the back of the heel. Septic bursitis required antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Your doctor will be able to
determine whether there is an infection or not by drawing a small sample of the bursa fluid with a needle.
Non Surgical Treatment
Rest and apply cold therapy or ice. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin as it may cause ice burns but wrap in a wet tea towel. Commercially available hot and cold packs are often more
convenience than using ice. Taping the bursa with a donut shaped pad to take some of the pressure from footwear may help. A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication e.g. ibuprofen to reduce
the pain and inflammation. Applying electrotherapy such as ultrasound may reduce inflammation and swelling. A steroid injection followed by 48 hours rest may be given for persistent cases. If the
bursitis is particularly bad and does not respond to conservative treatment then surgery is also an option.
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.