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Are Those High Heels Really Worth It?

If you're a heel wearer and you're experiencing pain, you're not alone.

Pump-style shoes may make you (and your legs) look great, but they can cause big problems over the long haul. One of those problem is the irritation of a common bony deformity on the back of the heel called ‘pump bump.’ In many cases, this irritation can lead to bursitis or Achilles tendonitis if left untreated.

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 bump or bony protrusion is a hereditary deformity that 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 spend a lot of time in high heels.

The medical term for the pump bump is Haglund’s deformity. In addition to the noticeable bump, symptoms include pain where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel, swelling in the back of the heel and redness in the area.

In most women, doctors can prescribe medications to reduce the pain and inflammation. This does not, however, get rid of the bony protrusion. Icing the back of the heel can reduce swelling, and stretching exercises can relieve tension in the Achilles. Long-term, it’s best to avoid wearing high heels, if possible.

When the dress code requires high heels, I tell my female patients to try heel lifts to decrease pressure on the heel. Or, I recommend they wear appropriate dress shoes that have soft backs or are backless.

If you wear high heels and your feet hurt, Mendoza Podiatry can help. Just give us a call.

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