Bursitis and tendinitis are conditions that are also known as soft tissue rheumatic syndromes. A syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and indicate a particular problem. This
type of syndrome produces pain, swelling, or inflammation in the tissues and structures around a joint, such as the tendons, ligaments, bursae, and muscles.
Bursitis has many causes, including autoimmune disorders, crystal deposition (gout and pseudogout), infectious diseases, traumatic events, and hemorrhagic disorders, as well as being secondary to
overuse. Repetitive injury within the bursa results in local vasodilatation and increased vascular permeability, which stimulate the inflammatory cascade.
Pain at the back of the heel, especially when running uphill. Pain may get worse when rising on the toes (standing on tiptoes). Tenderness at the back of heel. Swelling at the back of heel.
The diagnosis is based on the symptoms and an examination. For anterior Achilles tendon bursitis, doctors use x-rays to rule out a fracture of the heel bone or damage to the heel bone caused by
rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory arthritis.
Non Surgical Treatment
Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication will help with pain and swelling. Physical therapy can help stretch the Achilles to relieve any impingement. Also, a switch to properly-fitting shoes will
help to prevent the condition from worsening or recurring. You might also find relief with shoe inserts such as heel cups or padding. If you have tried these measures, yet symptoms remain severe and
continue to progress, surgical intervention is a possibility. Calcaneal bursitis surgery consists of excision or removal of the inflamed tissues and resection of the boney prominence. Debridement of
the affected area near the Achilles may also be performed, as well as repair of the Achilles if the condition has gone so far that the tendon ruptures.
Surgery. Though rare, particularly challenging cases of retrocalcaneal bursitis might warrant a bursectomy, in which the troublesome bursa is removed from the back of the ankle. Surgery can be
effective, but operating on this boney area can cause complications, such as trouble with skin healing at the incision site. In addition to removing the bursa, a doctor may use the surgery to treat
another condition associated with the retrocalcaneal bursitis. For example, a surgeon may remove a sliver of bone from the back of the heel to alter foot mechanics and reduce future friction. Any
bone spurs located where the Achilles attaches to the heel may also be removed. Regardless of the conservative treatment that is provided, it is important to wait until all pain and swelling around
the back of the heel is gone before resuming activities. This may take several weeks. Once symptoms are gone, a patient may make a gradual return to his or her activity level before their bursitis
symptoms began. Returning to activities that cause friction or stress on the bursa before it is healed will likely cause bursitis symptoms to flare up again.