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Retrocalcaneal bursitis

  • Alternative Names

    Insertional heel pain


    Your health care provider may recommend the following treatments:

    • Avoid activities that cause pain.
    • Ice the heel several times a day.
    • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (for example, ibuprofen).
    • Try over-the-counter or custom heel wedges to help decrease the stress on the heel.
    • Try ultrasound treatment during physical therapy to reduce inflammation.
    • Use physical therapy to improve flexibility and strength around the ankle, which can help the bursitis improve and prevent it from coming back.

    If these treatments don't work, your health care provider may inject a small amount of steroids into the bursa. After the inection, you should avoid stretching the tendon too much because it can break open (rupture).

    If the condition is connected with Achilles tendinitis, casting the ankle for several weeks to keep it from moving can be effective. Very rarely, surgery may be needed to remove the inflamed bursa.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    This condition usually gets better in several weeks with the proper treatment.


    Complications are rare. If the bursitis occurs with tendinitis, tendon rupture is possible. Tendon rupture may also occur with steroid injections, especially if they are given too often.

    Calling your health care provider

    If you have heel pain or symptoms of retrocalcaneal bursitis that do not improve with rest, contact your health care provider for evaluation and treatment.