Retrocalcaneal Bursitis Follow-up

Updated: Feb 22, 2018
  • Author: Patrick M Foye, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Follow-up

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

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Complications

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.

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Prevention

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.

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Prognosis

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).

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Education

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

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