If you wear high heels frequently and experience pain in the back of the heel—particularly if it’s accompanied by localized swelling—you likely have a case of Haglund’s deformity. Also known as “pump bump,” this condition is definitely one reason you should at least consider limiting how often you wear high-heeled shoes (even if those pumps are “super cute”).
Choosing the wrong footwear is akin to marrying the wrong person – things might be okay at first, but they can (and likely will) become intolerable over time. A case of pump bump slowly develops but can still be addressed no matter how long you have had it.
What is Haglund’s Deformity?
As noted above, this is a medical condition that causes pain and the formation (and enlargement) of a bony bump in the back of the heel. The bump itself might not cause issues when there is no pressure placed upon it, but while wearing shoes that have a curved and rigid backing or heel straps (as many pumps and stilettos do). A war starts between the shoe and the back of your heel.
Other symptoms of Haglund’s deformity include swelling and redness. When you switch to lower-heeled shoes, there may be a reduction in the swelling, although the Achilles tendon is then pulled tightly and can be a source of pain.
Some people are under the false impression that a bone spur on the bottom of the heel is a major concern, but this is simply not the case. You certainly can develop a heel spur on the underside of your foot, you have enough padding in the area to reduce the odds of having pain because. If you think about the back of your foot—reach down there to feel—you will realize there is not any padding. Instead, it is already rather boney, and this explains why a pump bump tends to be considerably more of an issue than a heel spur on the bottom of the calcaneus.
As is the case with some other medical issues, one problem can lead to another. With time and chronic inflammation, a pump bump will cause bursitis.
In between the heel bone and Achilles tendon, there is a fluid-filled sac known as a bursa. Its function is to provide cushioning and act as a lubricant so the Achilles can more easily slide. When a pump bump pushes into the bursa, this sac becomes inflamed and swollen, causing pain and redness. That is bursitis.