Retrocalcaneal Bursitis

Retrocalcaneal Bursitis is swelling of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) at the back of the heel bone under the Achilles tendon.

A bursa acts as a cushion and lubricant between tendons or muscles sliding over bone. There are bursas around most large joints in the body, including the ankle. The retrocalcaneal bursa is located in the back of the ankle by the heel. It is where the large Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.

Retrocalcaneal Bursitis


  • Pain in the heel, especially with walking, running, or when the area is touched
  • Pain may get worse when rising on the toes (standing on tiptoes)
  • Red, warm skin over the back of the heel

Main contributing factors

  • Suddenly increasing workload
  • Starting an aggressive workout schedule
  • Tight Achilles Tendon
  • Poor biomechanics

Treatment for Bursitis

  • Icing
  • Heel raises
  • Activity modification or reduction
  • ROM & stretching exercises
  • Footwear modification
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (Nurofen etc)
  • If biomechanics is a contributory cause – orthotics may be considered

What can you do?

  • Reduce or modify current activities
  • Ice after training/ activity 15 minutes on, 2 hours off, 15 minutes on
  • Footwear assessment – it may be time for a new pair
  • Stretch your lower leg muscles – but not to the point that it causes pain

Take the first step towards happy and healthy feet.

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