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Haglund’s Deformity: The Pump Bump

You may have a Haglund’s deformity if you:

  • Wear high heels frequently
  • Have a bump on your heel
  • Experience pain in the back of your heel (particularly if it’s accompanied by localized swelling)

Also known as “pump bump,” this condition is definitely one reason you should consider limiting how often you wear high-heeled shoes (even if those pumps are “super cute”).

See, 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.

Fortunately, it’s much easier to address the pump bump problem.

While earlier treatment is always better, we have options to help you get the relief you need – no matter how long it’s been an issue. If this condition causes you pain, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

What is Haglund’s deformity?

This is a medical condition that causes pain and the formation (and enlargement) of a bony bump in the back of the heel – the Haglund’s deformity.


If you have pain in the back of the heel but the root cause is physical activity, it’s more likely you have Achilles tendinitis.

When there is no external pressure placed upon it, the bump itself is not necessarily painful. However, if you wear shoes that have a curved, rigid backing or heel straps (as many pumps and stilettos have), a war starts between the shoe and the back of your heel.

In addition to pain from certain footwear, other symptoms include swelling and redness.

The swelling can often be reduced by switching to lower-heeled shoes, although this may lead to a new issue (more on this in a second).

So, what is the bump? Where does it come from?

This is actually a bone spur. Bone spurs are calcium deposits that build up on existing bone tissue in areas typically subjected to excessive pressure. Basically, your body is trying to protect the area.

A bone spur on the bottom of the heel isn’t necessarily a big deal. There is plenty of padding down there and you might not even notice one.

The back of the heel, however, has considerably less padding. (If you aren’t sure what we’re talking about, just reach down there and you can easily feel there isn’t much between the heel bone and skin.)

One problem can sometimes lead to another in our bodies. For pump bump, this is seen when time and chronic inflammation lead to bursitis.

Between your heel bone and Achilles tendon, you have a small, fluid-filled sac (a bursa). Its function is to provide cushioning so the Achilles can slide more easily. When a pump bump presses into the bursa, it causes swelling, pain, and redness. (That is bursitis in a nutshell.)

How do we treat Haglund’s deformity?

While the main goal for treatment is to relieve pain and inflammation in the back of the heel, another is to prevent long-term damage to the Achilles tendon (which can develop in the fifth or sixth decade of life).

As is often the case, we have two main treatment options:

  • Change the environment
  • Change the foot (surgery)

We always do our best to reserve surgery for severe cases and when you decide the limitations and pain are no longer tolerable.

With regard to “change the environment” treatments, ice is your best friend for providing temporary relief. In addition to relieving pain, an icing regimen also reduces swelling.

Another option we may recommend is a stretching boot. In this treatment, you take the boot home and use it for a minimum of an hour a day. The boot stretches your Achilles complex and reduces issues that develop when the tendon is too tight.

We briefly touched on this earlier, but suddenly going from high-heeled footwear to those with low heels may present a new problem:

When a heel spends substantial time in an elevated position, the Achilles tendon shrinks and tightens. Because of that, switching to a flatter shoe creates excessive strain on the tissue.

(This situation highlights the importance of maintaining flexibility with regular stretches.)

If conservative care does not produce the results you want, Dr. Leibovitz may recommend a surgical procedure to provide the relief you seek.

Surgical procedures usually entail:

  • Removing excess bone tissue responsible for the problem
  • Smoothing down the attachment surface
  • Lengthening the Achilles complex

If you wish to pursue surgical treatment, we will discuss your procedure in detail, so you know exactly what to expect.

Get the care you need today!

When you have pain in the back of your heel, come see your go-to foot doc. Dr. Leibovitz will diagnose the problem and create a treatment plan to resolve it – all so you can find relief from painful symptoms!

Follow the lead of your neighbors who already make our office their first choice for foot and ankle care and contact us today. Schedule your appointment by calling (317) 545-0505.


9505 E. 59th St., Suite A
Indianapolis, IN 46216

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(317) 545-0505

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