Retrocalcaneal Bursitis

Retrocalcaneal bursitis is a condition in which pain in the heel is caused by tissue damage and inflammation of the retrocalcaneal bursa (these are small fluid-filled sacs that are located at the back of the heel).

Injury Overview


You may notice symptoms very quickly after a sharp blow to the heel. However, most cases of retrocalcaneal bursitis happen from injuries that are repetitive. Symptoms may then begin gradually, and worsen significantly over time. Retrocalcaneal bursitis can be caused by recurring and prolonged pressure, like in standing, a bacterial infection of the retrocalcaneal bursa, or from complications from rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis.


Usually, treating retrocalcaneal bursitis includes a combination of self-care practices, and doctor administered treatments to relieve pain and any inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic course of treatment if an infection has caused the knee bursitis. You may also be referred to a physical therapist or specialist in sports medicine who will help you learn exercises to improve your flexibility and strengthen your muscles.

For more severe cases of knee bursitis, more invasive treatments may be required. These can include a corticosteroid injection if the knee bursitis is stubborn and does not respond to basic treatments, The corticosteroid drug is injected directly into the affected bursa to reduce the existing inflammation. The inflammation usually diminishes rapidly, but you may experience pain and swelling from the injection for a couple of days.

If you have severe chronic knee bursitis, and these treatments do not work, your doctor may advise that the bursa be surgically removed.


Always be sure to warm up before engaging in any sort of physical activity. Preventative exercises can also be very helpful, making sure to keep each muscle group stretched and exercised. It is also just as important to rest after strenuous activity to prevent overuse injuries from happening.

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