Choice in footwear plays a bigger role in foot health than most people realize. If you stop and think about it for a second, this makes complete sense. You spend many, many hours in shoes during the course of your lifetime. When you choose to spend significant portions of that time in styles with high heels, narrow toes, and rigid backs, you might develop a condition like Haglund’s deformity.

What is Haglund’s Deformity?

The condition arises from your body trying to defend itself. You may not be aware of this, but your body has a defensive mechanism it uses when faced with persistent pressure. The body builds up bone tissue in the affected area with calcium deposits that become a permanent part of your skeletal structure.

When the backside of your heel is faced with consistent pressure from a rigid shoe back, your body automatically begins “sending in the troops” and building up its defense. The result is a bony protrusion that creates new issues, particularly when you continue to wear shoes like pumps (thus the nickname “pump bump”) that feature those rigid backs.

All of this adds up to the soft tissue close to your Achilles heel becoming irritated and painful. To further complicate matters, you might also develop bursitis. This accompanying condition is inflammation of a fluid-filled sac (a bursa) normally intended to provide cushioning between the bone and tendon.

What Else Causes a Pump Bump?

Whereas there is greater likelihood of a woman who frequently wears pumps or stilettos developing Haglund’s deformity than a man, this is not the only cause. Other contributing factors include foot structure and shape and gait abnormalities. With regard to structure, individuals (male or female) who have high arches and tight Achilles tendons have an increased risk of developing this condition.

What Are the Symptoms of a Pump Bump?

The pain in your heel when you wear shoes will probably be the initial indication that something is wrong. (We had to specify “when you wear shoes” because you will not feel the bump if you are walking barefoot.) When you examine the area, you will discover the most obvious sign – an enlarged, bony bump on the backside of your heel. In addition to pain and the bump, other symptoms include redness, swelling, and blisters in the affected area.

How is Haglund’s Deformity Treated?

There are a variety of methods that can be used to provide care for a painful bump on your heel. Many are conservative in nature, and some can even be attempted at home. Home care includes such tactics as:

  • Use padding in the back of your footwear to relieve pressure placed on the bump.
  • Choose footwear that features soft, less-rigid backings instead of the shoes that cause heel pain and irritation. If it is an option—and you do not have tendinitis, bunions, structural issues, or other foot pain—see if open-heeled shoes work for you.
  • Avoid or limit activities that cause swelling and pain, and control the inflammation and pain by using an ice pack several times during the course of the day for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Always check with our office before using over-the-counter medications, but those that have anti-inflammatory properties may help you manage the pain.

Home remedies can certainly be worth trying, but they might not offer the pain relief you were hoping to receive. If this is the case, simply give Foot Specialists of Long Island a call and we can provide help through the use of:

  • Prescription medications, either oral or topical anti-inflammatory options.
  • Orthotic devices to support the heel.
  • A walking boot or soft cast that immobilizes the affected heel.
  • Surgery. We may discuss this if conservative measures are not providing adequate relief.

Getting the Pump Bump Help You Need

Now that you understand the condition that is probably causing that pain in the back of your heel, it’s time to do something about it! Simply contact our Massapequa, NY office today and get started on your road to pain-free living. Give us a call at (516) 804-9038 or use our online form to request your appointment.