Friction can be a powerful force. Enough of it slows down moving trains and wears down mountain faces. We use it to create force every time we push off the ground. However, it can also have a negative effect for the human body. Friction against your skin leads to blisters, while rubbing against internal tissues leads to painful inflammation. This is the problem with Haglund’s deformity in the heel.
The Trouble with Heel Bumps
This deformity, sometimes called a “pump bump,” is an enlarged bony protrusion at the back of the heel bone. The bump is part of your foot shape and is usually inherited. Pressure on the back of the foot traps your Achilles tendon and its bursa against the enlargement. Stiff shoe backs are common culprits for this issue, though preexisting conditions like high arches, tight Achilles tendons, and underpronation can also add pressure to the heel and irritate it.
Over time this aggravates the tissues, causing painful swelling and thickening—which in turn makes the condition worse. The discomfort is typically at the very back of the heel. Usually you see a visible, reddened bump in that area. Often the irritation also causes a callus to form, which can add to the problem. You may even develop bursitis, or swelling and inflammation in the protective bursa. The more irritated the back of the foot becomes, the more uncomfortable it is for you to wear shoes and walk normally.
Relieving the Pressure
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to limit your discomfort and avoid the painful irritation. Most remedies for Haglund’s deformity are conservative and involve decreasing the inflammation in the rearfoot. Dr. Robert Parker will need to thoroughly evaluate you lower limbs to understand the extent of your condition and the best way to treat it. He may request images like X-rays or MRIs to get a better picture of the bump on your heel bone. Then he can help you move forward with treatment.
Most of the pain comes from the inflammation and swelling. Resting your foot and icing the back of it are key to decreasing the swelling and strain. Our expert staff here at Parker Foot & Ankle may recommend anti-inflammatory medications to decrease inflammation. Most likely you will need to change your shoes to models with softer backs, or use heel cups or pads to limit the pressure placed on the bump and soft tissues. Certain stretches and exercises to relax the Achilles tendon may also help. Serious cases may need to be immobilized in a cast or brace so that movement can’t continue to irritate the tissues. If noninvasive measures are unsuccessful in restoring your heel, you may need a surgical procedure to shave down the bump on the back of your foot.
If you’ve noticed a hard, painful bump at the back of your heel, you may have Haglund’s deformity. Over time, the pain from this condition can significantly impact your activities, and will continue to worsen unless something is done to address it. Don’t wait – you can find real relief! Contact Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston for an appointment or more information to learn more about your options. Fill out the online contact form or call (281) 497-2850 to reach us.