It is an abnormality which affects the heel bone and the soft tissue around it. Its predominant sign is an enlarged bony section at the outer aspect of the back of the heel, which leads to the soft tissue on the heel becoming irritated due to the rubbing of skin against the inside of shoes.
When the sac - which contains lubricating fluid between the tendon and bone - becomes irritated, this problem can lead to bursitis.
It is thought to be caused by the shape of some people’s heel bone which over time can lead to symptoms described above.
Pump bumps can develop in just one foot or both feet. The predominant symptoms are; a bony bump at the back of the heel on the outside; redness where tissue is inflamed; swelling of the bursa; and pain.
In some cases, pump bumps can be diagnosed via a physical examination, which looks at the appearance of the heel. But because pump bump symptoms can also be present in other foot conditions, sometimes imaging tests such as x-ray can be used as part of the diagnostic process.
There is a wide range of non-surgical treatment options for pump bumps, including; indirect, daily ice treatment; changing to looser or open back shoes; soft tissue massage; wearing a boost or cast; ultrasound treatment; and customised orthotics which have the ability to stabilise the feet and reduce pressure. Over the counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen and aspirin can relieve pain. A silicon heel sock can be cheaply purchased online which helps some people.
Surgery can be advisable when non-invasive treatments have proven ineffective. Procedures are usually focused on the removal of excess bone from the outer part of the heel. This achieves the reduction of pressure on the bursa and soft tissue. Stitches following these procedures are typically removed within two weeks before a gradual resumption of normal activity can commence.
As with all foot surgery, it is normal for swelling to persist for some months after surgery and is completely normal. This swelling will eventually completely subside with time and can take up to 12 months but often goes well before this.
Ankle pain can be distressing, especially if you're not sure what options are open to you. If you're wondering if surgery could help you, book an appointment.
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