Retrocalcaneal bursitis


  • Retrocalcaneal bursitis is a condition characterized by tissue damage and inflammation of the retrocalcaneal bursa (a small fluid filled sac located at the back of the heel) causing pain in the heel region. Risk factors include poor foot biomechanics (particularly flat feet), inappropriate footwear (e.g. excessively tight fitting shoes), muscle weakness (particularly the calf, quadriceps and gluteals), muscle tightness (particularly the calf), joint stiffness (particularly the ankle or foot), bony anomalies of the heel bone, inappropriate or excessive training or activity, inadequate recovery periods from sport or activity, inadequate warm up, inadequate rehabilitation following a previous Achilles injury, change in training conditions or surfaces, inappropriate running technique, inadequate fitness, poor pelvic and core stability, poor proprioception or balance, and being overweight.

How did I get this?

  • Compressive forces and friction may be placed on the retrocalcaneal bursa during certain ankle movements or by wearing excessively tight shoes. When these forces are excessive due to too much repetition or high force, irritation and inflammation of the bursa may occur.

What can I do about it?

  • Rest.
  • Massaging the calf muscles.
  • Stretching.
  • Ice packs.
  • Seek podiatry consultation.

What help can I get for this?

  • Podiatrist may prescribe padding or strapping, appropriate footwear/modification, exercises, or orthotics
  • Orthopaedic surgeon for surgical removal of bone spur (if present), removing the thickened inflamed retrocalcaneal bursa, and debriding the Achilles tendon.

When will it get better?

  • This condition usually gets better in several weeks with the proper treatment.