Heel Bursitis

At the back of the heel, a fluid filled sac (bursa) lies, and is often referred to as retro-calcaneal bursa. Heel bursitis is the term used when this fluid filled bursa becomes swollen or inflamed. It often occurs with tendinitis of the Achilles where it inserts into the back of the heel.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain to the back of the heel with walking or pressure.
  • Warm and red skin to the back of the heel.
  • Increased pain to back of heel when standing on the balls of your feet or when stretching your ankle upwards with the toes coming towards you.

Exams and testing:

  • An x-ray will rule out abnormal bone conditions such as bone spurs, stress fractures and arthritis.
  • Ultrasound can help differentiate between bursitis, Achilles tendonitis or other soft tissue abnormalities.
  • If pain does not improve, sometimes further imaging, like an MRI, may be helpful to further evaluate condition.

Treatment recommendations:

  • Decreasing activity and resting.
  • Icing the area several times daily.
  • Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes that offload the pressure against the back of the heel, such as an open back shoe.
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil or Aleve.
  • Using over the counter insoles or custom orthotics.
  • Musculoskeletal laser to aid in decreasing inflammation.
  • Using heel lifts to help decrease stress on the heel from a tight Achilles tendon.
  • Stretching and physical therapy.
  • Heel bursitis rarely requires surgery.

It is important that you prevent this injury from occurring so that you aren’t set back from your regular activities. To aid in prevention, make sure you are exercising properly and maintaining flexibility and range of motion to the ankle joint.

The doctors at The Heel Pain Center of Kansas City have the ability to diagnose and treat your condition at the same appointment with the most advanced tools such as digital x-rays and diagnostic ultrasound right in our office.

If you are suffering from chronic heel pain, visit one of our podiatrists to get back on your feet quickly and comfortably.

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