How to get running shoes for a Haglund's deformity?
Posted: May 25, 2021
Haglund’s deformity or a pump bump is an enlarged bit of bone at the back of the heel is a real problem in runners and is often not easy to deal with. The enlarged part of the heel bone rubs on the shoe causing a bursitis and blisters. The bursitis can become quite swollen and painful. The inflamed bursa is known as retrocalcaneal bursitis.
The only way to make the enlarged heel bone go away is with surgery and that surgery can involve taking off the Achilles tendon at its attachment to get at the bone to remove the enlargement and then reattaching the tendon to the heel bane. That is a big deal and involves a lot of rehabilitation, so we want to avoid that if possible. Having said that, it is a reasonably good option in the long term if this is an ongoing problem and the measures used to help it are not working.
The best way to deal with a Haglund’s issue of the heel bone is to get pressure off the painful area so the bursitis swelling can go down. Sometimes, a simple heel raise maybe all that is needed in some cases as this can move the painful area on the heel bone away from the irritating part of the heel counter on the running shoe. Podiatry adhesive felt can also often be used to fashion a doughnut shaped pad that goes around the painful area. This can be stuck in the shoe or on the foot. Other types of padding may be able to be adhered on the inside of the heel counter of the running shoe to keep the pressure off the lump allowing it to heal. If the pressure is relieved for long enough, the swelling from the bursitis can go down.
As for what is the best running shoe for a Haglund’s issue on the heel bone, there probably isn’t one, despite runners often asking online for the best and getting plenty of advice for specific running shoes. Most running shoes brands use a different shaped last to make their shoes on, so its a matter of finding one that best suits the shape of the back of your heel. Each runners shape of their heel bone is different, making that is a difficult task. A running shoe with a soft, flexible and pliable heel counter is going to be better than one with a more rigid heel counter.
Some runners experiment with a higher drop and a lower drop running shoe and find that one more than another does a better job at relieving pressure on the bump. As each individual Haglund’s lump is different it is hard to give specific advice to an individual as to which running shoe will suit them better. Some runners even resort to cutting a hole in the counter of the running shoe so that there is no pressure on the bump. If you want to do that, it might be good idea to try it first on an older pair of running shoes in case something goes wrong.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.