Retrocalcaneal Bursitis Follow-up

Updated: Sep 12, 2019
  • Author: Patrick M Foye, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Return to Play

Athletes with retrocalcaneal bursitis may be expected to return to play without restrictions after they demonstrate the following:

  • Resolution of symptoms

  • Resolution of previous physical examination findings (eg, limping, tenderness on palpation)

  • Adequate performance of sports-specific practice drills without recurrence of symptoms or physical examination findings



See the list below:

  • The posterior heel pain may become chronic or progressive, resulting in limping (antalgic gait) and decreased athletic performance.

  • Achilles tendon rupture may occur secondary to chronic inflammation and/or due to corticosteroid injection.



Patients with retrocalcaneal bursitis should consider the following preventive measures:

  • Wear properly fitting footwear, and change running shoes on a regular basis, depending on the amount of use.

  • Avoid footwear that fits too tightly at the posterior heel.

  • Avoid high-heeled shoes.

  • Avoid corticosteroid injection by other clinicians, unless the risk of Achilles tendon rupture is fully understood.



See the list below:

  • Most patients with retrocalcaneal bursitis respond well to a combination of local icing, oral medications, Achilles stretching, and modification of footwear.

  • In general, patients with persistent symptoms despite nonsurgical measures (see Acute Phase Physical Therapy and Other Treatment) can expect improvement with any of the previously discussed surgical interventions (see Surgical Interventions).



Patients should be thoroughly educated and informed about the following:

  • The proper performance of Achilles tendon stretching

  • The rationale for donning appropriate footwear

  • The potential risks and benefits of corticosteroid injection for those who are considering receiving this treatment

  • The risks, benefits, and expected outcomes of surgical intervention for those in whom conservative therapy has failed