Fall Can Bring Heel Pain for Women


When the cooler weather comes and women trade in sandals and open-backed shoes for traditional pumps, heel pain soon follows. For women who have a bony enlargement at the back of the heel—known as Haglund’s Deformity—stiff-backed pumps can rub and cause irritation to the spot. At NY Foot Health, we’d like to offer some information about this condition and what you can do to get relief.

All About “Pump Bump”

Haglund’s Deformity is sometimes referred to as “pump bump,” because of the symptoms it causes. Certain structural attributes of your feet—which can be hereditary—can increase the likelihood of Haglund’s Deformity. These include:

  • High arches

  • Tight Achilles tendon

  • A tendency to walk on the outside of your feet

Wearing shoes with rigid, high backs, such as pumps, work boots or ice skates can exacerbate this condition.

Getting Relief

If your foot is otherwise normal and healthy, you can try the following measures to reduce pain from Haglund’s Deformity:

  • Place heel pads in the backs of your shoes to protect the bony enlargement and shift pressure away from the painful spot

  • Choose shoes that have a low or no back and ones made of a soft, giving material

  • Ice the back of the heel at the end of the day after you have taken off your shoes

When these steps fail to bring relief or if you notice the bony protrusion is getting larger, it’s time to make an appointment to see your podiatrist. Don’t have a podiatrist? We can help you locate an experienced foot doctor in your area. Check our online directory.

The podiatrist will do a complete examination of your heels and feet and also get your medical history. X-rays may be ordered as well as an MRI or ultrasound with the goal of getting a better look at the structure and condition of your feet. Once the severity and source of your pain have been assessed, the foot doctor may take one or more of these steps:

  • Immobilize the foot with a soft cast or walking boot to give the inflammation a chance to subside and allow time for healing

  • Custom orthotics may be prescribed to change the function and position of your foot and lessen the pressure on the back of your heel

  • Surgery to correct the deformity

Learn more about common foot conditions by contacting us and subscribing to our free e-newsletter.