Winter Sports Can be a Pain in the Heel


It’s been a good winter for skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and other cold-weather sports. But, if you have noticed recently a bony bump at the back of your heel that is becoming increasingly painful, you may be developing a condition known as Haglund’s Deformity. At NY Foot Health, we know that there are certain biomechanical faults that can make a patient more prone to Haglund’s Deformity. These include:

  • A tendency to walk on the outside of your feet

  • High arches

  • Tight Achilles tendon

However, another factor that contributes to the onset of Haglund’s Deformity is wearing footwear with hard, rigid backs—like ice skates and ski boots. If you’ve found a bony enlargement at the back of your heel, it’s important to make an appointment with your podiatrist. Don’t have a podiatrist? We can help you locate a qualified foot doctor in your area through our online directory.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As the bump on the back of your heel grows, it makes wearing shoes more painful because they rub on the bump. In fact, another name for this condition is “pump bump.” The podiatrist will examine your foot and get your medical history. X-rays and possibly an MRI or ultrasound may be ordered to give the podiatrist a better look at the structure of your foot and rule out other possible disorders.

In some cases, the discomfort from Haglund’s Deformity may subside simply by changing your footwear to shoes that don’t apply pressure to the affected area or that are open-backed to allow the inflammation to heal. Topical or oral anti-inflammatory medication may also be prescribed, along with icing to relieve pain.

If the deformity is severe, immobilization may be recommended in the form of a soft cast or walking boot to allow the area time to heal. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity.

To learn more about this and other foot and ankle disorders, contact us and consider subscribing to our free e-newsletter.