Still Think High Heels are Worth It?
For Immediate Release
It’s not what fashion-conscious women want to hear – another warning about high heels. But, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, pump-style shoes often cause significant pain by irritating a common bony deformity on the back of the heel, called ‘pump bump’ In many cases, it can lead to bursitis or Achilles tendonitis, if left untreated.
“Pump bump is common in young women who wear high heels almost every day,” said Marybeth Crane, DPM, FACFAS, a Dallas-area foot and ankle surgeon whose practice near DFW International Airport is well populated with flight attendants. She said the employee dress code on most airlines requires flight attendants to work in high heels and their feet take a beating as a result.
“The rigid back of a pump-style shoe can create pressure that aggravates the heel bone when walking,” said Crane.
According to the ACFAS consumer website, FootHealthFacts.org, 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 work in high heels.
The medical term for the disorder 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 the large majority of cases, pump bump is treated non-surgically by reducing inflammation, but this does not get rid of the bony protrusion. “Pain relief is the primary treatment goal, so anti-inflammatory medications usually are prescribed,” said Crane. She added that 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.
“When the office or airline dress code requires high heels, I advise women to try heel lifts to decrease pressure on the heel or wear appropriate dress shoes that have soft backs or are backless,” said Crane.
To learn more about Haglund’s deformity or locate a foot and ankle surgeon in your area, visit FootHealthFacts.org.