Bursitis on Heel: Causes & Relief

Bursitis on Heel: Causes & Relief Bursitis on the heel can cause big problems. It brings a lot of pain and makes daily tasks hard. This happens when the bursae, small sacks full of fluid, get swollen. They’re meant to make it soft between our bones and tendons. It’s important to know the reasons and ways to treat heel bursitis to ease the pain. This post looks into what this is, what causes it, and how to fix it. Let’s learn more about bursitis on the heel and how to feel better.

Understanding Bursitis on the Heel

Bursitis happens when the bursae get inflamed. These small sacs cushion bones and tendons. If this swelling is around the heel, it may affect retrocalcaneal bursitis or Achilles tendon bursitis. It’s important to know about the heel’s anatomy and the bursae’s role.

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is the swelling of the bursae. These sacs sit near the joints to help joints move smoothly. Too much use or strain can make them hurt. This can cause problems like Achilles tendon bursitis and retrocalcaneal bursitis.

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Why the Heel is Affected

Heel bursitis is common because the heel takes a lot of stress. The Achilles tendon links the calf muscles to the heel bone. Doing too much, wearing bad shoes, or suddenly working out more can inflame the bursae near it. This leads to Achilles tendon bursitis. The bursa between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone can also get inflamed, causing retrocalcaneal bursitis. Knowing the heel’s structure helps make sense of these problems.

Symptoms of Bursitis on Heel

Heel bursitis can cause different symptoms in each person. A main symptom is swelling at the back of the heel. This swelling is often tender to the touch, hurting when pressed.

Pain gets worse with movement, a key symptom. Walking or standing long becomes hard due to this. Many feel stiff when they wake up, which eases as they move.

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The area might also be red or warm, showing inflammation. At times, the pain is sharp and may spread to the foot or ankle. This makes simple activities tough, like climbing stairs.

It’s key to know these symptoms early to act fast and avoid worse trouble. If symptoms stick around, seeing a healthcare pro is wise. They can pin down the issue and plan treatment.

Symptom Description
Swelling Noticeable swelling around the back of the heel.
Tenderness Painful to touch or press on the affected area.
Movement Pain Pain exacerbated by walking or standing.
Stiffness Stiffness in the heel, typically worsening after inactivity.
Redness/Warmth Inflammation indicated by redness or warmth.
Sharp Pain Intense pain that may radiate to the foot or ankle.

Common Causes of Bursitis on the Heel

Bursitis on the heel happens because of many things. Each thing plays a part in causing this pain. Knowing these reasons can help stop bursitis or treat it.

Repetitive Stress

Repeating the same movements can hurt your heel. For example, running or standing too long can pressure your heel. This makes the fluid-filled sacs swell up and cause bursitis.

Injury and Trauma

Hurting your heel from a sudden event is a big cause of bursitis. This could happen from a fall or sports accident. The swelling and pain in your heel may get worse if you don’t treat even minor injuries.

Underlying Health Conditions

Some health issues can make you more likely to get bursitis. Things like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes up the chance of heel inflammation. These health problems make your heel more sensitive. So, bursitis is easier to get.

Diagnosing Heel Bursitis

Diagnosing heel bursitis needs a good look at the patient’s full health story. Doctors check past injuries, see how active someone is, and when the pain started. They even note if certain actions make the pain worse.

Doctors also feel the heel area during a check-up. This is to spot any tender or swollen spots. They do this to make sure the pain isn’t from something else. They also test how well you can move your foot and if that causes pain.

Imaging Tests

To get a better idea about heel pain, doctors might use imaging tests. X-rays are often first. They help rule out bone problems like fractures. But, they don’t show soft tissue issues, which could be the case with bursitis.

For a closer look, an MRI gets used. MRIs can see the inflamed bursae around the heel. This helps doctors know exactly what’s wrong and choose the right treatment.

Treatment for Bursitis on Heel

Managing bursitis on the heel can ease pain and help move better. Below are common treatments:


Heel pain often gets better with certain medicines. Doctors might suggest anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin to lessen swelling and pain. If these don’t help, they could suggest shots of corticosteroids for stronger medicine.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is key in treating bursitis on the heel. It includes special exercises and strength-building. These help you move better, heal faster, and stop the problem from coming back. Therapists also use things like ultrasound, ice, and stretching to help you get better.


Sometimes, if nothing else works, surgery may be needed. Surgeons can fix the bursa or correct other problems causing heel pain. The goal is to make the pain go away and improve how well your heel works.

Treatment Method Benefits Risks Expected Outcomes
Medications Fast pain relief, reduces inflammation Possible side effects, temporary relief Decreased pain and swelling, improved comfort
Physical Therapy Improves strength and flexibility, non-invasive Requires consistent effort, gradual progress Enhanced functionality, reduced recurrence
Surgery Permanent solution, addresses structural issues Invasive, longer recovery period Long-term relief, improved heel function

Heel Bursitis Exercises for Relief

Heel bursitis can really hurt. But doing the right exercises can help a lot. They make your muscles and tendons around the heel stronger and more flexible. This brings short and long-term relief.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching is key for heel pain. It keeps your heel flexible and less stiff. Here are some good heel bursitis exercises to try:

  • Calf Stretch: Stand facing a wall, place your hands on the wall at shoulder height, step back with the affected heel, and press it into the ground. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times.
  • Plantar Fascia Stretch: Sit down and place the affected foot over the knee of the other leg. Pull the toes towards the shin to stretch the bottom of the foot. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat three times.

Strengthening Exercises

Building strength helps your heel heal and prevents future issues. Try these exercises to make the muscles around your heel stronger. This gives better support and lowers injury risk:

  • Heel Raises: Stand with feet hip-width apart and slowly lift your heels off the ground, then lower them back down. Aim for 10-15 repetitions and perform three sets.
  • Towel Scrunch: Sit in a chair with a towel on the floor under the affected foot. Using your toes, scrunch the towel towards you, then push it back. Repeat this motion for a minute on each foot.
Exercise Description Repetitions Benefits
Calf Stretch Press the heel into the ground while facing a wall. 3 sets of 30 seconds Relieves tension in calf and Achilles tendon.
Plantar Fascia Stretch Pull the toes towards the shin to stretch the foot. 3 sets of 20 seconds Reduces stiffness and increases flexibility.
Heel Raises Lift and lower the heels while standing. 3 sets of 15 reps Strengthens muscles around the heel.
Towel Scrunch Scrunch a towel towards the figure using toes. 1 minute per foot Improves toe strength and flexibility.

How to Prevent Heel Bursitis

You can prevent heel bursitis by making simple changes in your life. This includes wearing the right shoes, exercising, and staying at a healthy weight. Let’s dive into each of these tips to keep your heels healthy.

Proper Footwear

Choosing the right shoes is key to prevent bursitis on your heel. Make sure your shoes are comfy and have good support. They should also fit well and have a bit of a heel. This helps reduce stress on your Achilles tendon.

  • Select shoes with a cushioned sole
  • Avoid high heels and flat shoes for prolonged periods
  • Replace worn-out and unsupportive footwear

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is great for your heel health. Do activities that make your heel muscles and joints strong and flexible. This keeps them from getting hurt and keeps your feet healthy.

  1. Stretch your calves and Achilles tendon
  2. Do heel raises and foot drills
  3. Try various activities to keep your exercise routine interesting

Weight Management

Keeping your weight in check is good for your feet. When you’re not too heavy, there’s less pressure on your feet. This lowers your chances of getting heel bursitis or other problems. Eating healthy and staying active are key to managing your weight.

  • Keep an eye on your weight and try to be at a healthy level
  • Eat foods that are good for you
  • Do exercises that get your heart pumping and strengthen your muscles

So, remember to wear the right shoes, keep moving, and watch your weight. These steps will help you avoid heel bursitis. They’ll also make sure your feet feel good and free of pain.

Retrocalcaneal Bursitis: A Close Look

Retrocalcaneal bursitis is a word that means the bursa in your foot is sore. This bursa sits between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone. It gets sore and swollen, causing pain. It’s important to know what causes this, its signs, and how to treat it.


The main reasons for this heel pain are stress on the Achilles tendon, tight calf muscles, and things that press your heel too much. If you run or jump lot, you might get this. Also, bad shoes that don’t support your feet can make it worse.


To know if you have this bursitis, watch for a swollen, painful heel. It hurts when you move your foot, and the area is sore to touch. The pain gets worse with more activity and might look red or feel warm.


The first step to treat this is to rest and apply ice to the area. This helps with the swelling. You can also take NSAIDs to make the pain and swelling better. Physical therapy is important too. It makes your heel muscles stronger and adds flexibility. If it’s really bad and nothing else works, you might need surgery to take out the sore bursa.

Treatment Option Description
Rest and Ice Reduces stress and inflammation
NSAIDs Medications to alleviate pain and swelling
Physical Therapy Strengthens and stretches the Achilles tendon
Surgery Removal of the inflamed bursa in severe cases

Achilles Tendon Bursitis and Its Link to Heel Pain

Achilles tendon bursitis is a kind of bursitis that affects the bursa near the Achilles tendon. It causes a lot of heel pain. It’s important to know about this condition to spot it early and get help fast. Let’s look at how Achilles tendon bursitis is related to heel pain, what signs to watch for, and ways to feel better.

Understanding Achilles Tendon Bursitis

The Achilles tendon links the calf muscles to the heel bone. It’s key for walking, running, and more. Achilles tendon bursitis happens when the bursa between the tendon and heel bone gets swollen. This can be because of doing things over and over, wearing bad shoes, or working out too much.


It’s crucial to know the signs of Achilles tendon bursitis for early treatment. Symptoms include pain and tenderness at the heel’s back, swelling, and stiffness. These problems are often worse in the morning or after sitting still. Pain gets stronger with movement. It’s important to get help right away to stop it from getting worse.

Relief Methods

Dealing with Achilles tendon bursitis needs rest, good shoes, and maybe some medicine. Rest and avoiding things that make it worse can lower the swelling. Ice and anti-inflammatory drugs can ease pain and swelling. Exercises from a physical therapist are great for getting better. In very bad cases, shots or surgery might be needed to feel good again.

Know about Achilles tendon bursitis helps. You can manage it and make your life better by knowing the causes, spotting the signs, and using treatment options.


What is bursitis on the heel?

Bursitis on the heel happens when little sacs get swollen. These sacs are filled with fluid. They help protect bones from tendons and muscles. It makes the heel area hurt.

What causes bursitis on the heel?

Activities that stress your feet can cause heel bursitis. This includes running or jumping. It can also happen from an injury or certain health conditions.

What are the symptoms of bursitis on the heel?

You may feel slight pain or very hurt on your heel if you have bursitis. It can also swell and feel tender. The pain gets worse when you move.

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