Bursitis in the Achilles Tendon: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Achilles tendon bursitis is a painful condition that affects the heel and can cause significant discomfort during daily activities and sports. In this article, we will cover the causes, symptoms and treatment options for Achilles tendon bursitis, providing a comprehensive overview of this condition with the aim of helping readers better understand and properly deal with this problem.

What is Achilles tendon bursitis?


Achilles tendon bursitis, also known as retrocalcaneal bursitis, is inflammation of the bursa located between the Achilles tendon and the calcaneal bone, at the back of the heel. The bursa is a sac-like structure filled with synovial fluid, whose function is to reduce friction and allow smooth gliding between the tendon and the bone.

Causes of Achilles tendon bursitis


Achilles tendon bursitis can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Repetitive trauma: Activities that involve constant impact on the heel, such as running, jumping and high-impact sports, can overload the region and lead to inflammation of the bursa; 
  • Inappropriate footwear: Shoes that do not provide adequate support or that are improperly fitted can increase pressure on the Achilles tendon and bursa, contributing to the development of bursitis; 
  • Anatomical deformities: Certain conditions, such as Haglund’s deformity, characterized by a bony prominence in the heel, can increase friction and pressure in the region, leading to inflammation of the bursa; 
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Some disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and other arthropathies may predispose to the development of Achilles tendon bursitis.

Achilles tendon bursitis symptoms


The most common symptoms of Achilles tendon bursitis include:

  1. Heel Pain: The pain is usually located at the back of the heel, close to the Achilles tendon. It can be described as a throbbing, burning pain or a burning sensation; 
  2. Swelling: The affected region may become swollen due to inflammation of the bursa; 
  3. Touch sensitivity: The affected area may be sensitive to touch, causing discomfort when pressing or palpating the region.



Achilles tendon bursitis treatment may vary based on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying cause. Some commonly recommended treatment options include:

  • Rest and modification of activities: It is important to rest the affected area and avoid activities that cause pain or worsen symptoms. Reducing impact and stress on the heel can aid recovery; 

    Ice application: Using ice packs on the affected area can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. It is recommended to apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes, several times a day; 

    Anti-inflammatory medications: Medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen may be recommended to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. However, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before starting any medication; 

  • Physical Therapy: The physical therapist can prescribe specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around the heel and improve flexibility. In addition, treatment modalities such as shock wave therapy or ultrasound may be used to aid recovery;
  • Appropriate footwear: Wearing footwear that provides good support and cushioning for the heel can help reduce pressure on the bursa and facilitate recovery. Custom insoles may also be recommended to promote proper foot alignment.

In more severe and persistent cases, the surgical option to remove the inflamed bursa or correct anatomical deformities may be considered.

Achilles tendon bursitis is curable?

Achilles tendon bursitis can be treated and, in most cases, symptom relief and significant improvement can be achieved. However, it is important to point out that complete healing may vary depending on the severity of the condition, the individual response to treatment.

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Source: cuidadospelavida.com.br

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