Haglund's Deformity: Bump on Heels
When something that is normally smooth develops bumps, anything that rubs against it will experience more friction than normal. For example, when you get goose bumps, your skin feels rougher than normal when you rub your palm over it. When your bones develop bumps, something similar happens—only the friction creates pain for you. One of the bulges that can appear on your heels is called a Haglund’s deformity.
A Haglund’s deformity, also called a pump bump, is a bony prominence or enlargement on the back of your heel bone. Heredity may mean that your calcaneus, or heel bone, has a small natural bulge. The discomfort develops when this prominence becomes enlarged and irritated over time. A tight Achilles tendon and high arches can also contribute to the bump’s formation. The bursa between your heel bone and Achilles tendon may react to the friction as well, creating heel bursitis. As stiff-backed shoes rub against the bump, they aggravate the tissues, making it uncomfortable to wear normal footwear or walk around.
The more your Haglund’s deformity is irritated, the more uncomfortable it will be. Typically you feel the pain near where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. The area swells and may appear red. Usually a bump is visible on the outside of the foot, too. You will need to have the condition treated to relieve the discomfort, or it will continue to worsen.
Soothing the Discomfort
Discomfort for a pump bump can usually be managed conservatively. Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, will evaluate your heel to determine what factors contributed to the development of the bump. Our staff may use X-rays and other tests to determine the extent of the condition. Then we can help you treat the prominence to minimize your discomfort and let you walk pain free.
Reducing the inflammation in your heel, especially in your bursa, is key for relieving your discomfort. Icing the foot will help decrease swelling and irritation. Padding the back of the foot, especially when you wear shoes, will help prevent the rubbing that aggravates the condition. We may recommend some anti-inflammatory medications as well. You may need to modify your shoes or use orthotic inserts to accommodate your foot shape, especially if your arches contribute to the problem. Stretching may help release Achilles tendon tension that could be contributing to the problem. Occasionally, your foot may need to be immobilized for a time, so it can rest enough to heal.
All of these measures help relieve your pain, but they do not eliminate the bump. For some people, that isn’t a problem—reducing the irritation is enough to eliminate the discomfort. If your condition is persistently painful, though, you may need to have the bony prominence surgically removed.
Haglund’s deformity is a painful problem, but it doesn’t have to get in the way of your ability to wear shoes or stay active. Foot discomfort of any kind shouldn’t be “normal” in your life. If you have an uncomfortable pump bump, contact Dr. Darren Silvester here at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX. Our staff will help you restore your feet. Call (830) 569-3338 or fill out our online contact form to reach us.