There are several fluid-filled sacs behind the heel bone that act as a cushion and a lubricant between muscles and tendons sliding over bone. Everyone has hundreds of bursa over their body. A bursa functions as a smooth, slippery surface between two moving objects.
Repetitive or over use of the ankle can cause the bursa to become inflamed or irritated leading to heel bursitis. Once the bursa is inflamed, normal movements and activities can become painful. The condition is often mistaken for Achilles Tendonitis. Symptoms include pain in the heel, especially when walking, running, or jumping or when the area is touched. The skin around the back of the heel may be red and warm to the touch, and the pain may worsen when standing on tiptoe. It is commonly seen in people who are just starting an aggressive exercise routine.
Both ankle bursitis and Achilles tendonitis have similar symptoms. For example, both conditions cause discomfort when pushing off the foot, cause pain in the morning, during walking, or after he or she has been sedentary for a period, the pain will worsen with more activity.
Ankle bursitis can be caused by either a repeated friction or by a single blow to the area. If you are just starting a new exercise program and do too much at one time, you may be at risk for heel bursitis.
Rest is important with this condition. However, proper diagnosis is important to determine the best course of action.