Ankle Tendonitis and Retro-calcaneal Bursitis in a nurse on my feet for 30 years

by flowerchild59

I have been a nurse, on my feet, for 12 hour shifts for nearly 30 years.

That said, I developed tendonitis and probable retro-calcaneal bursitis over the past year.

I had custom orthotics made (and do wear them, BTW) and ice my ankles almost every night for the past several months. Yes, ice is my friend right now.

My pain is worse at the end of the day, so the more I am on them, the pain and swelling does increase.

I just was placed on a round of oral prednisone (doc donesn't want to inject them) and am starting physical therapy this week. I think I am getting night splints to wear also.

Any one find that splints work????

Any other ideas???

Would a MRI help with diagnosis or only make the insurance companies richer since I have both to do???

I am desparately trying to avoid surgery.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Flowerchild.

So you're icing, good. Are you ice dipping?

Hmm, where to start....

Trying to avoid surgery: I'm with you on that one!

MRI: My view is, you already know that you hurt, what's an MRI going to tell you? In my experience, it's not going to to change any treatment, aside from confirming a doctor's desire to do surgery.

Night Splint: Any one will do. You just want to keep your foot in a flexed position all night to keep it from 'curling' like a hand with carpal tunnel can.

I don't recommend one over another because they all do the same thing, though some are more comfortable than others.

I'm generally against splints, but night splints can serve a good, temporary purpose. They 'work' in the sense that they keep tight, tightening muscles and structures lengthened. That's a good thing.

My only concern with a night splint for you is that that -may- put pressure on the bursa all night? Pay attention to that.

Physical Therapy: I don't know what the PT will do, but it will probably include ultrasound, stretching, and strengthening.

I'm not such a fan of that. From my view, what you need to do right now is to loosen, relax, open up, and lengthen all the muscles/structures of your lower legs.

You've been on your feet 30 years. Muscles get tight. They stay tight. Connective tissue shrink wraps. Time passes. Repeat.

Now everything is too tight, too short, stuck that way, and putting constant tension on, and pressur on, your feet structures, including constant pressure on the bursa.

Bursitis can be PAINFUL.

It's similar to Tendonitis but more stubborn, more irritable, more acute, slower to get better.

Ice. Open up the lower leg structures with icing, massage, etc. (Hire a high school kid, for instance, to massage your lower legs for cheap. Don't worry about technique, just rub and knead your calves, soleus, feet, etc. Every day for a week.)

Natural anti-inflammatories like Omega 3's and Turmeric.

Increase your protein intake, including Bone Broth as the best Tendon Supplements.


1. How are you icing?

2. You said tendonitis. Say more about that. Plantar Fasciitis or ankle tendonitis?

3. How bad is the pain, where is it exactly, etc.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Feb 10, 2010
PART 2 - More information - Ankle Tendonitis and Retro-calcaneal Bursitis in a nurse on my feet for 30 years
by: flowerchild59

Before I begin, Thanks so much for your help.

I just wanted to add a few things.

First of all, I have ankle achilles tendinitis, don't have plantar fascitis.

I ice with flexible wraps, not ice baths. I would like to try baths, but I have rather severe raynaud's disease where the blood vessels spasm down and I have decreased blood flow to the hands and feet. I can't imagine what an ice bath would do to my already pale or white toes. Sometimes they are bluish, but generally they are pale.

I take norvasc daily to dilate the vessels and that helps. I have some sort of auto immune disease going on for some time. I have a positive ANA and daily temperature of 100-100.5 degrees every afternoon. It's temp goes up and my hands and feet spasm down and get cold.

I do have a question. I was tossed off a horse several years ago and have a lot of pain a C-4 or so. A friend of mine swears by his teeter inversion table to help stetch out his back.

Are you familiar with inversion tables and do you think it would be ok to try with my achilles tendinitis? I am thinking it my stretch out those calf muscles and tendons too......but maybe not such a good idea with chronic inflammation.

I am so ambivalent about everything I read. I don't know what works and what will help in the long run.

Again, thanks for your input.

Feb 11, 2010
PART 3 - Ankle Tendonitis and Retro-calcaneal Bursitis in a nurse on my feet for 30 years
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Joshua Comments:

Hi flowerchild.

You're welcome:)

1. If you can ice wrap, my first response is that you can possibly ice dip for 5-10 seconds. I don't know if you've tried a dip to see what happens.....

I'm not committed that you have to do it, and I certainly wouldn't if you try it once and your body doesn't like it. It may or may not.

2. Personally I'm not a fan of inversion tables. I like the idea, but. The couple I've tried just.....hurt my ankles (that lower leg area and the joint itself). The people whose tables I tried really love them and swear by them.

If you're already hurting with Achilles and ankle stuff.....I'd hate to stress the area.

Describe the neck pain.

If it's 'bulging disc' type pain, possibly with symptoms down the arm, I would go get '7 Steps To A Pain Free Life' by Dr. Robin McKenzie. It's one of two books that got me up off two months on the floor in two days, and has a section for back, and a section for neck.

3. Back to the Reynaud's.

I'm going to point you in Kerri's direction for this.

What you describe points to:

1. Gluten Intolerance.

2. Magnesium deficiency (magnesium deficiency is a variable that sets you up for Reynaud's, and cold then then drops serum magnesium levels which keeps your body from dealing well with cold stress).

3. Likely Vitamin D deficiency is playing a role, and might as well cover your bases with B6 and B12.

That whole auto-immune thing....Gluten Intolerance. Basically, go TOTALLY off all gluten for 2 months. You just may be very pleased and surprised what happens.

Kerri deals with people with your kind of symptoms all the time. It -used- to surprise me the results they got just by going off gluten.

Maybe you know something about this, maybe not, I don't know, but as you still have this auto-immune problem, the first place I would look is at Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance.

You have three main issues. The auto-immune issue, the Raynaud's, and the Tendonitis.

I can help with the Tendonitis, but my first attention is on the auto-immune problem as that's a deeper, systemic issue. Taking care of that will help take care of the tendonitis (and might actually take care of it totally).

Go to Kerri's Free Stuff page and get her two free downloads; the 'Essential Guide To Lasting Pain Relief' and the Vitamin D Factsheet'.

Very, very valuable for you.

Tell me about the neck, read Kerri's two downloads, and ask any questions/give thoughts and updates, etc.

Feb 14, 2010
PART 4 - Continued bursitis and tendinitis - Ankle Tendonitis and Retro-calcaneal Bursitis in a nurse on my feet for 30 years
by: Anonymous

Very intersting observations you picked up on.
Yes, I am gluten intolerant, just sort of found out a year or so ago.

My twin sister is being worked up for celiac disease......has lost 40 pounds of weight in the last year to her malabsorbtion. She has been rather ill.....has a long way to recover. She weighs about 85 pounds to my 140.

She has some auto immune issues too.......we grew up near St. Louis in a very poluted area that had a lot of industry and refineries.

I am trying to avoid gluten at all cost. I had testing done a couple of years ago but it showed I did not have celiac but am "gluten intolerate".

My neck pain is usually a slight burning at C4 or so. I guess I would call it more upper back pain than neck pain. I have some shoulder knots that just won't go away and I call some of them the evil romboids. I take flexeril now and then for spasms but usually can get by with motrin or the such.

I am getting ready to read the down loads you recommended.

Thanks again.


Joshua Comments:a

You're welcome:)

Testing for Celiac disease, from what I've seen, is very unreliable. Just because it says you aren't Celiac doesn't mean you aren't.

Gluten Intolerance runs in the family. I don't know what role pollution plays in your symptoms, but it's safe to say that Gluten is something you should avoid.

You may want to connect your sister with Kerri at Kerri regularly deals with people suffering like your sister. Leaky Gut results from Gluten Intolerance and causes malabsorbtion.

And you're twins, right? So your genetics are the same. You have whatever Gluten Intolerance she has at that level. You're doing right by avoiding gluten at all costs.

One part of the 'evil rhomboids' pain is postural. Muscles on the chest side of the body are bigger and stronger than the back side. THus the rhomboids and neighbors are chronically overworked, and losing.

Lay backwards over a ball or chair/couch/etc, with arms out at various angles. Open up the front, give the back a break.

Also, remember we were talking about inversion tables? I haven't tried one of these, but I like the idea of this non-inverting variation of an inversion table. The Nubax

Here is a related conversation, re: icing:

Mar 11, 2010
PART 5 - better each day - Ankle Tendonitis and Retro-calcaneal Bursitis in a nurse on my feet for 30 years
by: flowerchild59

OK Joshua, I got brave and tried ice dipping. After the first dip, the other ones aren't as bad and the swelling is going down, way down!!!

I really didn't thing dipping would help vs. the ice wraps but it was a significant improvement.

I am doing the inversion table and it doesn't seem to hurt my ankles. I usually warm up for several minutes (10-15 mins) on the elliptical machine, do the inversion table, do the wobble board, stretching exercises and yoga.

I am moving better each day.

Thanks for your help. And your e-book on achilles tendinitis was very informative!


Joshua Comments:



Sep 09, 2010
Doing great these many months later!!!
by: flowerchild59

Hi Joshua,
I just wanted to add an update to my saga. I was able to avoid the achilles tendonitis surgery, thank god. I am now able to do a 12 hour shift without limping and am quite pleased at how little pain I have now, compared to before I started treatment.

Yes, it took months of icing and therapy, but compared to surgery, I am so glad that I took this route.

I am still stretching and doing the elliptical machine and still like to do my teeter inversion table.

Again, thanks for all of your input. You are very knowledgeable and I can't thank you enough for this website.


Joshua Comments:

You, my friend, are very very welcome.

Kudo's to you for doing the work.

Apr 27, 2012
Not sure what is causing ankle and foot swelling
by: Michelle

About 2 months ago I experienced random shooting pains in shin of left leg. After one episode I traveled by plane and on my return trip realized my ankle and lower leg swelled signficantly. I tried increasing fluid and vitamin intake which seem to help but not completely rid of problem.

On recent trip to Florida with lots of walking and warm weather, the swelling of foot and ankle worsened. I have a bunion on the foot and flat feet (no arch when standing). My podiatrist also told me years ago I had poor circulation with the bottoms of my feet blue when cold. The foot and ankle swelling is only on my left foot. Is it bursitis? kidneys? vitamin deficiency? torn tendon? And how can I get rid of this annoying swelling at only 42 years of age?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Michelle.

The first thing that jumped to mind was when you said you were on a plane and suddenly you had swelling.

That's a big red flag for blood clot. Go to an emergency room and get an ultrasound test for blood clots.

Once you get that ruled out, then we can talk about the rest, to which it sounds like it's a big nutritional deficiency issue.

Possibly the poor circulation is 100% genetic, but even then, nutrition plays a HUGE role in the scenario you describe.

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