What are the symptoms of heel bursitis?

Heel bursitis also referred to as the Retrocalcaneal Bursitis, is the swelling on the bursa fluid-filled sacs at the posterior region of the heel. The bursa sacs are located between the Achilles tendon and heel bone. The sacs serve as cushions for the tendons, muscles, and ligaments hence prevent rubbing together when in rigorous activities.

However, when you over engage the heel and the ankle area, the bursa sacs become tender and consequently swells. Overindulging in intense feet exercises especially when you are a newbie can result in heel bursitis. Hence, it is recommended that you do prior exercises before embarking on rigorous activities.

Putting on small-sized shoes and, also walking on high heels may cause the conditions. Age is another factor that can cause the condition. However, athletes are more prone to this condition. You should, therefore, put on fitting shoes and flex your muscles before the main game. Small shoes may cause heel injury by causing muscle cramps around the ankle. Also, if you have a family history of arthritis, heel bursitis and arthritis get interlinked. Below are symptoms of the condition.


The symptoms of heel bursitis are dependent on the location of the swelling. In a normal condition, only one bursa is present.

female feet and hands with a white rolled towel

When the bursa sac becomes inflamed here, it forms the anterior Achilles bursitis Upon pressure on the heel; another protective bursa sac may form between the tendon and the skin. When this sac experiences pressure, it results to posterior heel bursitis.

Symptoms of Anterior heel Bursitis

On the onset of the condition, the bursa sacs become inflamed probably because of an injury or gout. The symptoms are abrupt. However, if the disorder is due to other underlying conditions, the symptoms are gradual.

You may experience warmth, pain, and swelling in the area. It gets hard to put on shoes and walking becomes a problem — usually, a small, red, tender, swelling form at the back of the heel. If the bursa gets severely inflamed, both sides of your heel will swell.

Posterior Heel Bursitis

The symptoms get manifested by the reddening, heat, and pain at the back of the heel. The skin above the swelling may peel away after some time.


Several months down the line, a red fleshly colored nodule-like bursa may appear. It feels tender and may get inflamed. In its chronic stage, the bursa hardens and appear forms a hard scar.

Other Symptoms may get manifested through

· Painful in calf muscles which makes running and walking difficult

· Stiffens of the muscles and a cracking sound gets produced when you flex the feet

· Leaning back on your heels becomes troublesome and putting on shoes gets uncomfortable


After diagnosis, home treatment gets always recommended. Your doctor may require you to ice the hurting area several times a day. Also, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen get prescribed. Putting on custom heel wedges that reduce the stress on the heels are advisable. Some physical exercises have also proved to be helpful. If the above does not work, an injection of steroids will suffice.