If you’re sporting a bony bump on the back of your heel, it is likely a condition called Haglund’s Deformity, sometimes referred to as “pump bump.” That’s because the painful protrusion is often associated with women who wear high heels, or pumps – shoes which typically feature a hard heel counter that presses and irritates the back of the heel. Other types of dress shoes, skates, and boots can have stiff and rigid heel counters as well, similarly aggravating the area behind your heel and resulting in swelling, tenderness, redness, and pain. What is this mysterious phenomenon and what can be done about it (besides switching up your shoes, of course)?
What’s Happening Back There?
Bursas are fluid-filled sacs in your body that act as buffers between tendons and bones. There happens to be one of these protective barriers located where your Achilles attaches to your heel – the same place where the bony enlargement of Haglund’s Deformity develops. When shoes rub against this area, the pressure irritates the soft tissues surrounding the Achilles tendon, and can result in a painful case of bursitis on top of everything else! This inflammation of the bursa makes Haglund’s Deformity hurt even more.
Factors Contributing to the Bumpy Formation
Sure, if you’re fond of high heels, enjoy ice-skating a lot, or wear boots quite a bit, you are definitely at risk for this condition, however there are other factors that can make you prone to the problem – namely your genes! If you were born with high arches which make you walk on the outside of your heel, Haglund’s Deformity is likely to occur. If you have tight Achilles tendons, this too can be a contributing factor for a pump bump to develop.
Solutions Other Than Shoes
Obviously, if you notice a red and swollen bump on the back of your heel, you should try to wear your favorite footwear sparingly if you find that your shoes are aggravating the problem. There are, however, other things you can do to ease pain and manage the condition, besides slipping on some backless or soft-backed shoes for a change. Heel pads and wearing orthotic shoe inserts can shift pressure away from the area and control motion in your feet, reducing irritation. Icing the area as well as taking anti-inflammatory medication can also help with swelling and pain. There are even stretching exercises you can try to loosen your Achilles, which will help as well. Ultrasound treatments, soft-tissue massage, and in some cases, a cast or boot, can be used to relieve symptoms.
If these conservative measures are not enough to ease your pain, and your pump bump is interfering with activities you enjoy, there are surgical procedures that can be performed to restore your quality of life.
If you notice the back of your heel has a bump and think it may be Haglund’s Deformity, call to make an appointment so we can diagnose the problem and determine a treatment plan that works best for you. Contact our Princeton, NJ office by dialing (609) 924-8333, or call (908) 687-5757 to reach our Roselle Park location.