Achilles tendon bursitis involves inflammation of the bursa that are found either amidst the skin at the rear part of the heel and the Achilles tendon or in the anterior aspect of the connection point of the Achilles tendon to the heel bone.
The usual symptoms include warmth and swelling and a sore spot at the rear of the heel. The treatment is usually aimed on alleviating the inflammation and reducing the pressure on the back part of the heel.
This occurs among young women but can also develop among men. Walking in a manner that repeatedly compresses the soft tissue behind the heel against a rigid back support from a shoe can trigger or worsen bursitis. Shoes that taper sharply inward toward the posterior heel can cause or aggravate the bony enlargement of the back part of the heel.
This can be triggered by any condition that places extra strain on the Achilles tendon. Damage to the heel and certain conditions can also cause it.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms usually depend on the exact cause and location of bursitis.
Posterior Achilles tendon bursitis
- Warmth at the back of the heel
- After several months, the bursa appears as an elevated, reddened area that is soft and tender that becomes inflamed
Anterior Achilles tendon bursitis
When the bursa is inflamed after an injury or gout, the symptoms develop abruptly. Once bursitis develops due to other conditions, the symptoms develop in a gradual manner which includes:
- Tender spot on the back part of the heel
- Difficulty walking and using shoes
- Reddened, swollen tender spot at the back part of the heel
For both types of Achilles tendon bursitis, the application of a warm or cold compress, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and injections of a corticosteroid or anesthetic combination.
These measures can momentarily alleviate the pain and inflammation. The doctor will carefully inject the mixture into the tendon. After treatment, the individual should be allowed to rest.
When it comes to the posterior type, the treatment is aimed on reducing the inflammation and adjusting the position of the foot in the shoe to alleviate the pressure and motion at the back part of the heel.
In case these treatment measures are not effective in dealing with the condition, a part of the heel bone might require surgical removal.