Still Think High Heels are Worth It?
It’s not what fashion-conscious women want to hear—another
warning about high heels. But wearing pump-style shoes often causes significant
pain by irritating a common bony deformity on the back of the heel, called
If left untreated, it can lead to bursitis or Achilles tendonitis.
What is Pump Bump?
Pump bump is common in young women who wear high heels almost every day. The
rigid back of a pump-style shoe can create pressure that aggravates the heel
bone when walking.
The bony enlargement can cause Achilles tendonitis or
bursitis due to constant irritation from pump-style shoes. Those with
high arches or tight Achilles tendons are especially vulnerable to developing
pump bump if they work in high heels.
The medical term for the disorder is Haglund’s
deformity. In addition to the noticeable bump, symptoms include:
Treating Pump Bump
In the large majority of cases, pump bump is treated non-surgically by
reducing inflammation, but this does not get rid of the bony enlargement. Pain
relief is the primary treatment goal, so anti-inflammatory medications may
be prescribed. Icing the back of the heel reduces swelling, and
stretching exercises can relieve tension in the Achilles. Long-term,
however, it’s best to avoid wearing high heels, if possible.
If your job requires wearing high-heeled shoes and you’re
experiencing symptoms of pump bump, heel lifts placed inside the shoes may offer
some relief. Wearing backless shoes or those with soft backs may also help
decrease pressure on the area.
Information provided by The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
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