Achilles Bursitis

Achilles bursitis occurs when the retrocalcaneal bursa—a small fluid-filled sac that sits between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone to help the tendon move more easily over the bone—becomes inflamed after repeated impact. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are the most common forms of Achilles bursitis treatment. However, in some cases, Achilles bursitis sufferers may need to seek professional medical attention, specifically from a physical therapist or sports injury specialist. A physical therapist may use electrotherapy, ultrasound, and cold therapy to reduce a person’s swelling and pain. A therapist also will work to understand the underlying cause of a person’s Achilles bursitis. Often, it is either a result of tight calf muscles or overpronation (flattening or rolling of the foot)—both of which can be corrected through physical therapy. Once the pain has subsided, a physical therapist may prescribe an exercise program that includes deep stretching in order to increase flexibility and prevent a re-injury. It is important to gradually work back into a fitness routine and ensure proper shoe wear, so nothing is irritating the bursa or placing pressure on the heel. Most people recover from Achilles bursitis within two to three weeks—if they have given themselves enough time to rest and fully recover.