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Achilles Tendon Bursitis (Heel Bursitis)

Definition of Achilles Bursitis:

Achilles tendon bursitis, a very painful condition, is caused by an irritation of the fluid filled sac (bursae) between the Achilles Tendon and the heel bone (Anterior Achilles Bursitis) or between the Achilles Tendon and the skin (Posterior Achilles Bursitis).

After repeated irritation in this area, a spur formation can grow to cause a bump. The spur formation related to the Anterior spur is known as Albert's disease, and the spur formation related to the Posterior spur is known as Haglund's Deformity or pump bump.

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Causes of Achilles Tendon Bursitis

Achilles Tendon Bursitis can come on suddenly due to an injury, or gradually due to slow trauma over time such as walking in a shoe that rubs and presses too hard on the back of the heel. Many believe the increase in pressure on the Achilles Tendon can be created by wearing high heeled shoes that taper to a narrow heel. In fact, any type of footwear that produces repetitive pressure on the Achilles Tendon can cause the condition. It can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendon Bursitis

  • Discomfort or pain at the back or above the heel bone.
  • Associated redness and swelling in the area.
  • As the condition progresses, a hardening of the area may indicate progressive spur formation.

Diagnosis of Achilles Tendon Bursitis

Your doctor will be able to diagnose the condition by listening to your symptoms and examining the heel area but must first rule out heel fracture and inflammatory arthritis.

Treatment for Achilles Tendon Bursitis

To treat this condition it is imperative to reduce the pressure on the back of the heel.

  • Wear properly sized shoes, flat heels instead of tall ones
  • Reduce the pressure on the Achilles Tendon by:
    1. Using heel pads that lift the heel higher in the shoe
    2. Wearing an ankle support designed with special padding that disperses the pressure around the painful area
    3. Stretching your shoes to reduce irritation
  • Reduce pain and swelling with heat therapy or cold packs
  • Corticosteroids or local anesthetics prescribed by your doctor
  • As a last resort, surgery may be necessary to remove part of the heel bone

***The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in the Web site is for general educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. No one should act upon any information on this Web site without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician with whom they have a confidential doctor/patient relationship.***


Author: Dr. Tracy A. Norris D.C., C.C.E.P.
Chiropractic Physician
Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner


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