Achilles Tendon Bursitis
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What are Bursae?
Small, fluid-filled sacs known as bursae act as thin cushions between the bones and muscles throughout the body. If any bursa fills with more than the normal amount of fluid, it results in a condition known as bursitis which causes pain in the affected area.
What is Achilles Tendon Bursitis?
Achilles tendon bursitis occurs when the fluid-filled sac (bursa) located either between the skin of the back of the heel and the Achilles tendon (called posterior Achilles tendon bursitis) or in front of the attachment of the Achilles tendon to the heel bone (called anterior Achilles tendon bursitis or retromalleolar bursitis) is inflamed. Achilles tendon bursitis typically occurs as a result of repetitive or excessive friction and pressure on the bursa, leading to irritation and inflammation. Common causes include overuse, repetitive activities involving the Achilles tendon, tight footwear, or direct trauma to the area.
Symptoms Of Achilles Tendon Bursitis
The main symptom of Achilles tendon bursitis is pain at the back of the heel or above the heel bone. The pain may worsen with movement, especially during activities that involve ankle motion or pressure on the Achilles tendon. Swelling, redness, and tenderness may also be present around the affected area.
Treatment For Achilles Tendon Bursitis
Treatment for Achilles tendon bursitis aims to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. It typically involves a combination of conservative measures, including:
- Rest and Activity Modification: Avoid activities that exacerbate symptoms and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
- Ice Therapy: Apply ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day to help reduce pain and swelling.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
- Footwear Modification: Wear shoes with proper cushioning and support, and avoid tight-fitting or high-heeled shoes.
- Stretching and Strengthening Exercises: Performing gentle stretching and strengthening exercises under the guidance of a healthcare professional to improve flexibility and strength of the lower leg muscles.
- Orthotic Devices: Using heel lifts or shoe inserts (orthotics) to help reduce stress on the Achilles tendon and promote proper alignment.
In severe or persistent cases, additional treatments such as physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or immobilization with a walking boot may be recommended. In rare cases where conservative treatments do not provide relief, surgical intervention to remove the inflamed bursa may be considered. Remember, each case of Achilles tendon bursitis is unique, and the treatment approach may vary depending on the severity and individual factors. Adhering to the prescribed treatment plan and making necessary lifestyle modifications can help promote healing, reduce symptoms, and prevent future occurrences.