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Family Foot Care & Surgery, LLC

Bumpy Heels: Haglund’s Deformity

Have you noticed a sore bump on the back of your heel? Usually it’s hard to the touch and may make wearing some shoes very uncomfortable. You may have developed a Haglund’s deformity. Typically the problem will get worse if you do not treat it; however, you can relieve your discomfort with some simple, conservative management.

What Is It?

A Haglund’s deformity is a painful, enlarged bump on the back of your heel bone, where stiff-backed shoes rub against it and aggravate the tissue there. This irritation causes swelling that worsens the problem. The pain may be exacerbated by heel bursitis as well. The pressure of shoes on the bulge causes inflammation in the protective heel bursa and makes the foot even more uncomfortable, particularly when you use your Achilles tendon.

Since the issue is particularly common among women who wear pumps regularly, the condition is also known as a “pump bump,” even though any tight, rigid shoe back can lead to swollen and aggravated heel bones, including men’s footwear. The development of the condition is related to your foot shape as well. High arches, tight Achilles tendons, and walking on the outside of the heel stress the bone and can contribute to the deformity.

Managing the Bump

Fortunately, Haglund’s deformity can usually be managed without surgery. You’ll need to have Dr. Sanjay Patel evaluate your lower limbs to determine the extent of your condition and any contributing factors that may need to be addressed. Our staff will use X-rays, and possibly other tests, to get a clearer picture of your needs. Then we can help you move forward with treatment.

Conservative therapies largely revolve around reducing inflammation, especially in the bursa. Icing the heel helps minimize the irritation. We may recommend anti-inflammatory medications as well. Most likely you’ll need to adjust your shoes. Avoid high heels or other stiff-backed shoes that would aggravate your pump bump. You may need pads to protect the back of your foot from the shoe. Sometimes orthotics like heel lifts or arch inserts can help decrease the pressure on your heel bone. Stretching out a tightened Achilles may also be important to decrease strain.

Conservative management won’t help eliminate the protrusion, though, so occasionally it is not quite enough to relieve your pain. In that case, surgery to excise the bony bump may be necessary to reduce the strain on your heel bone.

If you’re struggling with stubborn pain from a pump bump, don’t ignore it and hope it will improve on its own. Since the pain is caused by a bony enlargement, the problem will only get worse the longer it goes unaddressed. Instead of waiting until you’re limping around or struggling to wear normal shoes, have your problem managed here at Family Foot Care and Surgery, L.L.C. You can request an appointment or more information by using our online contact form or by calling either of our two offices: (203) 876-7736 for our Milford location, or (203) 288-4055 for our Hamden office.

Dr. Sanjay V. Patel
Dr. Patel has over 20 years of experience in the field of podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery.