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Family Foot & Ankle

Haglund’s Deformity: A Painful Heel Bump

Bumps and bruises are a part of life, but there are a few bumps that deserve a little extra attention and concern. One of these is Haglund’s deformity. In this condition, a visibly enlarged growth of bone appears at the back of a heel, causing redness, inflammation, and pain.

It goes by another, somewhat more descriptive name, too: pump bump. That’s because the problem is common among those who frequently wear hard-backed shoe styles such as pumps—particularly young women.

Symptoms and Other Complications

Aside from a visible prominence, pump bump can cause lots of other problems, too. When the bone presses against the back of your shoes, the soft tissues between get pressed and irritated, resulting in painful bursitis. It may become very difficult to wear shoes comfortably, and you may also suffer from other complications. For example, blisters may form due to the constant friction.

Examining the Causes

Shoes Causing a Bump on the FootAs with many other foot deformities, the root causes of Haglund’s deformity are somewhat complicated and often include both a physiological and behavioral component. In the vast majority of cases, rigid-backed shoes are at the heart of the problem. Footwear such as pumps, ice skates, and men’s dress shoes apply pressure to the back of your heel, aggravating and irritating the tissues and ultimately causing the enlargement.

However, certain foot shapes or other biomechanical issues can make some people more prone to a case of pump bump than others. These may include high arches, particularly tight Achilles tendons, or a tendency to walk on the outside of the foot.

Seeking Treatment

The good news is that there is a wide variety of treatment options to deal with heel pain from this frustrating condition. When you consult with Family Foot and Ankle Center, our experts will help you develop a plan that’s tailored to the severity of your specific symptoms as well as your lifestyle goals.

At the low end of the scale, simply switching to a more comfortable pair of shoes with a less rigid back may be all the “treatment” you need. Use ice to combat swelling, and when you do have to pull out those dress shoes or skates, a couple of well-placed heel pads can protect against further irritation.

For more severe cases, we may have to consider some extra steps. Those with underlying mechanical deficiencies such as high arches may benefit greatly from other shoe inserts, including arch supports, heel lifts, or full orthotic devices custom-fit to the exact specifications of your feet.

In some cases where inflammation is particularly severe, the foot may need to be immobilized (that is, casted or put in a brace) for a period of time to protect the enlargement and promote healing. Other non-surgical approaches may include medications (oral and topical anti-inflammatories, injections), exercises, and physical therapy.

When all other options fail, surgery may be considered as an ultimate solution. Your podiatrist will select a procedure to reshape the heel bone and correct the deformity. While surgery is highly successful on average, and patients are usually very happy with the results, it comes with all the standard risks and drawbacks of going under the knife.

We don’t want it to come to that, though. The earlier you notice a case of Haglund’s deformity and seek help, the more likely simple solutions will work instead. That’s why it’s important to call Family Foot and Ankle Center soon after you notice a problem. You can set up an appointment with one of our expert podiatrists at one of our 6 Greater Cincinnati locations online, or by dialing (513) 728-4800 in Ohio or (859) 282-1572 in Kentucky.