Retrocalcaneal bursitis is inflammation of the small fluid-filled
sac (bursa) between the back of the heel bone and the Achilles tendon, just
above the point where the tendon connects to the bone. The inflammation causes
swelling, tenderness, and pain on the back of the foot.
Retrocalcaneal bursitis develops gradually, usually from pressure
from the back of a shoe. Activities that repetitively overflex the foot upward,
such as hill running, cause the Achilles tendon to press against the bursa and
can also cause inflammation. Wearing shoes and being active can often make
symptoms worse. But symptoms usually improve with rest.
Treatment for this condition may include changing footwear if
needed, ice massage, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
treatment. After 3 days, you can try heat, or you can alternate heat and ice. Runners are advised to avoid hill running, reduce mileage, and run
on a soft yet firm surface while rehabilitating.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & David Bardana, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
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