Retrocalcaneal bursitis is a medical condition that affects the bursa of your heels, which spreads from the Achilles tendon and the heel bone. The bursa acts as a cushion when you walk. A bursa can be defined as a sac filled with fluids when these get inflamed. Retrocalcaneal bursitis is one of the most common forms of heel bursitis. One of the leading causes responsible for inflammation is overuse from physical activity, walking, running, or jumping. It’s prevalent in athletes and ballet dancers; however, it can affect others.

Causes of retrocalcaneal bursitis 

It mainly results from putting extra pressure on the ankle, such as running uphill. A sudden increase in running, jumping, and other activities can also lead to it. Athletes who wear tightly fitting shoes while practising are more prone to retrocalcaneal bursitis.

In some rare cases, retrocalcaneal bursitis can also develop from infection. 

Apart from that, this condition can develop if you have the following disorders-

  • Gout
  • Pseudogout
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Haglund’s deformity, which can coexist with retrocalcaneal arthritis 

Symptoms of retrocalcaneal bursitis 

 Most patients feel pain or a throbbing sensation when putting pressure on the foot. Some other symptoms of retrocalcaneal bursitis are:

  • Loss of mobility
  • Stiffness in the foot 
  • Crackling sound when you flex your foot
  • Redness in the skin surrounding the heel 
  • Swelling of the heel

Is retrocalcaneal bursitis preventable?

  • Stretch and warm-up before working out.
  • Use good form when exercising.
  • Wear supportive shoes.

How Is retrocalcaneal bursitis diagnosed?

Diagnosis of retrocalcaneal bursitis includes X-rays and MRI scans which check for any signs of tenderness, redness, or heat and rule out a fracture or a severe injury. 

If your doctor suspects you have a bacterial infection, they will take your temperature and inquire about additional symptoms such as chills. Next, they’ll use a syringe to extract fluid from your bursa and send it to a lab for analysis.

Treatments for retrocalcaneal bursitis 

Retrocalcaneal bursitis often responds well to home treatments, which can include-

  • Elevating your feet while you sleep or sit.
  • Resting your heels and ankles.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Wearing shoes with slightly elevated heels.

If the home treatments do not work, your doctor might suggest a steroid injection, considering safety concerns.

Surgery and antibiotics are often the last resort and are only recommended when the ways mentioned above fail to show any positive results.

Retrocalcaneal bursitis usually improves within about eight weeks with home treatment. If you want to stay active during this time, try an alternative, low-impact activity, such as swimming. Consult with your doctor before starting new physical exercises. 

Call us today for a consultation. Our very own specialist, Dr Anuj Chawla is at your service to assist you.