Ankle bursitis



What is ankle bursitis?

Ankle joint bursitis is an inflammatory disease of bursa positioned around the ankle joint. Bursa is a sac filled with viscous fluid. Ankle Joint Bursa acts as a cushion between tendon, ligament, muscles and ankle joint bones. Viscous fluid within bursa is produced by synovial membrane. Soft sac of bursa filled with greasy viscous fluid act as lubricant resulting in decreased friction between bone and soft tissue like muscles, tendon and ligaments.

How common is ankle bursitis?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of ankle bursitis?

The common symptoms of ankle bursitis are:

  • Pain or tenderness in the back of your ankle
  • Limping
  • Decreased movement or stiffness of your ankle
  • Red, warm, swollen skin over your ankle or heel

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes ankle bursitis?

  • Direct injury to your ankle
  • Pressure to your ankle, such as when you exercise on uneven ground or wear poor-fitting shoes
  • Overuse of the ankle, such as when you walk or run for a long time
  • Bacterial infection
  • Medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout

Risk factors

What increases my risk for ankle bursitis?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is ankle bursitis diagnosed?

  • Your healthcare provider will examine your ankle and ask about your injury or activities. You may need any of the following:
  • Blood tests: You may need blood drawn to check for infection. Healthcare providers may also check for diseases that may be causing your bursitis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • X-rays: These pictures will show bone position problems, arthritis, or a fracture.
  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your ankle. An MRI may show tissue damage or arthritis. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • Fluid culture: Healthcare providers use a needle to drain fluid from your bursa. The fluid will be sent to a lab and tested for infection. Removal of bursa fluid may also help relieve your symptoms.

How is ankle bursitis treated?


  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs are available without a doctor’s order. Ask your healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
  • Antibiotics: These help fight an infection caused by bacteria. You may need antibiotics if your bursitis is caused by infection.
  • Steroid injection: This shot will help decrease pain and swelling.
  • Surgery: You may need surgery to remove your bursa or part of your ankle bone. Surgery is only done when other treatments do not work.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage ankle bursitis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with ankle bursitis:

  • Shoe inserts: Healthcare providers may give you shoe inserts with a cutout around the tender area. You may need to wear shoes with a reinforced heel counter (back of the shoe). This will give better heel control. You may need other shoe inserts, such as wedges, to raise your heel so it does not press against the back of the shoe.
  • Rest: Rest your ankle as much as possible to decrease pain and swelling. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
  • Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your ankle for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times each day, as directed.
  • Heat: Heat helps decrease pain and stiffness. Apply heat on your ankle for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times each day, as directed.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: October 30, 2017 | Last Modified: October 30, 2017

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