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Haglund’s Deformity: The Pump Bump

There are a variety of podiatric conditions with names that can be somewhat misleading. You certainly do not have to be an athlete to develop a case of athlete’s foot. Even if you have never hemmed a pair of pants, you might still end up with a tailor’s bunion. In the same way, women who wear pumps are not the only ones who develop pump bumps. Fortunately, there are treatments for this condition—also known as Haglund’s deformity.

A Painful Bump on the Back of Your Heel

Your body is incredibly adept at taking measures to protect itself. One such process the body may utilize is creating extra bone tissue when you consistently experience pressure on the backside of your heel. The result of this excess bone tissue is a lump that can itself cause problems.

Not all cases of Haglund’s deformity happen to women who wear certain models of shoes, but the condition is significantly more prevalent in female patients who frequently wear pumps and other high-heeled footwear. Such models typically have rigid backs and are especially tight to keep feet from sliding out, which pressures the bone so your body creates a pump bump.

When the bony protrusion rubs against the rigid back of a shoe, it can cause irritation in soft tissue that is close to your Achilles tendon. In turn, you may develop bursitis, which is inflammation of a bursa (a fluid-filled sac which provides cushioning) that sits between the tendon and bone.

Footwear choices contribute to a majority of cases, but there are other causes as well. Foot shape and structure, particularly tight Achilles tendons and high arches, may contribute to the development of this condition. Additionally, the biomechanics of your gait—the specific manner in which you walk—could be a cause, especially if you tend to walk on the outsides of your feet.

Symptoms of a Pump Bump

The most obvious indication of this particular deformity is the enlarged bump protruding from the back of your heel. When you are barefoot, you may see it but it may not be causing pain. If you have shoes that rub against it, however, you may experience such symptoms as blisters and heel pain. The inflamed tissue can also lead to redness and swelling in the affected area.

A Look at Treatment Options

One way to manage the pressure and pain that accompanies this condition is to simply not wear shoes, but we know that this is not a viable option. Fortunately, there are practical ways of treating this condition, some of which can be performed at home.

Prior to your appointment with our office, you can see if any of the following tips help:

  • Try relieving the pressure placed on your bump by padding the back of your shoe’s heel.
  • Instead of wearing shoes that will contribute to your heel pain, like high heels, opt for models that have softer, less-rigid backings. Even better, consider wearing open-heeled shoes (but not if you also have bunions, other foot pain, tendinitis, or any other structural issues).
  • Avoid activities that lead to pain or swelling, and apply ice packs for 20 minutes several times during the day to control inflammation and pain.
  • Consult with our office first, but over-the-counter medications, particularly those with anti-inflammatory properties, can help with pain management.

Home treatments may lessen your discomfort, but Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists is here for you if they don’t. Some of the options we may use include:

  • Orthotic supports
  • Topical or oral anti-inflammatory medications
  • A soft cast or walking boot for immobilizing the affected area
  • When other methods are ineffective, we may recommend surgery

No matter which options we choose to employ, the goal is the same – providing you with the pain relief you need.

Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists is here for you whenever you experience a condition or injury that is causing pain and discomfort in your lower limbs. We are committed to redefining your expectations of excellence when it comes to foot and ankle care and will find the relief you need. Contact our Austin, TX office by calling (512) 328-8900 or use our online form to request an appointment.

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists