What Causes Bumps on the Heel

Oct 10, 2016

New bumps appearing where all was smooth before can be a disconcerting experience. You want to know why they are there and if you should be worried about something malignant. The good news is that many odd lumps are technically harmless. Still, when you notice bumps and lumps on your Achilles, it’s worth having them examined to determine exactly what they are.

Small, soft-ish bumps and lumps on the Achilles tendon itself are often what are called “xanthomas.” These are fatty deposits that build up on the tendon, creating small masses on the soft tissue. In many cases, these develop because your body has a hard time processing certain fats. This could be an isolated health issue, or something connected to preexisting diseases like diabetes, hypothyroidism, or nephrotic syndrome.

Xanthomas aren’t usually painful on their own, but they do look odd and might be uncomfortable if they are consistently pressed on by footwear or tight socks. Usually you get them in both Achilles tendons at a time.

Xanthomas are different from hard bumps at the base of the Achilles. These hardened protrusions are typically bone spurs. They develop on the back of the heel bone where the Achilles is attached. Often they develop because that area of bone is under stress and pressure, possibly from a too-tight tendon.

These hard bumps can press against your Achilles and create painful friction there. They can also pinch your heel bursa and make wearing certain shoes more uncomfortable. You could easily have them in just one foot or both heels, depending on the stresses on your lower limbs.

Neither xanthomas nor spurs are dangerous problems for your Achilles on their own, but they could become problems later. The visible bumps from the soft masses on your tendon may embarrass you, or become uncomfortable with pressure. A bone spur could potentially contribute to Achilles tendinitis or bursitis.

If you’re noticing bumps and lumps on your Achilles, make sure you get the problem checked out so everything can be taken care of before issues arise. Our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery, LLC is happy to examine anything you’re concerned about on your lower limbs. Contact our Connecticut offices for more information or a consultation today: call 203-876-7736 for our Milford office, or 203-288-4055 for our Hamden location.