What Causes Bumps on the Heel?

Sep 1, 2022

Your heel is an unexpected place to find a lump or bump, especially if you don’t play sports and haven’t suffered a foot injury. Fortunately, most lumps and bumps on the heel are harmless, although some can be painful. 

Any new lump on your foot should be checked by our podiatrists – especially if you’re in pain or discomfort. Our podiatrists can assess the type and cause of the lump and get you on the path to healing.

The proper treatment depends on the lump’s type, cause, and location.

Soft Bumps on the Achilles Tendon

A soft lump on the Achilles tendon may be a xanthoma, a small, soft fat deposit under the skin that builds up on the tendon. Xanthomas may be waxy-looking, pink or yellowish, and can be a single lump or appear in clusters.

Xanthomas aren’t painful, but they can be tender and itchy. They can also become compressed or irritated by socks or shoes. Xanthomas aren’t dangerous, but they’re often a symptom of an underlying health condition and should be assessed by your primary doctor.

Painful Bumps Above the Heel

A lump above the heel may be due to Achilles tendinopathy, a condition caused by overuse or injury to the Achilles tendon. The strain or injury causes inflammation and microtears in the tendon. Other symptoms are pain, redness, swelling, and difficulty moving the foot.

Achilles tendinopathy is often confused with Achilles tendonitis, but they are different conditions. Achilles tendonitis is an inflamed tendon, whereas Achilles tendinopathy is an inflamed tendon with tiny tears.

Pain from bumps on the heel

Hard Bumps on the Heel Bone

Hard bumps on the heel are often bony growths caused by strain or irritation to the structures of the foot.

A heel spur is a hard, bony growth under the heel bone caused by strain on the muscles and tendons in the foot, stress on the plantar fascia, or repeated damage to the membrane over the heel bone. Those types of injuries are commonly caused by frequent running or jumping, like when jogging or playing basketball. Some heel spurs don’t have any symptoms. Others become quite painful due to inflammation in the surrounding tissue.

Haglund’s deformity could also be the cause of the hard bump on your heel. Haglund’s deformity is a bony growth or ridge where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. It may be caused by a person’s foot structure, such as having high arches or carrying their weight more toward the outside of their feet. The bony growth can cause pain and swelling behind the heel. Rigid-backed shoes and boots may aggravate the soft tissues around the growth, causing blisters, calluses, inflammation, and pain.

Let’s Heal Your Heels

Lumps or bumps on your heels can be painful and made worse by socks, shoes, and everyday activities that keep you on your feet. They can even affect your self-esteem if they make you feel like you want to hide your feet!

If you have a lump or bump on your heel, it’s always a good idea to get it checked out. A lump on the heel is usually something we can successfully treat in our offices. Sometimes, it’s a clue to another health issue. Some lumps and bumps will heal on their own, but we won’t know until we’ve examined them.

Treating each cause of the bump on the heel will be different, ranging from resting and icing to surgery in some rare cases. The sooner you have the bump on your heel checked, the easier the treatment usually is. Letting a bump stay on your heel could cause the bump to get bigger and more painful.

If you have a lump or bump on your heel, call our Milford or Hamden offices for an appointment or contact us on the website. Let us evaluate and treat your foot pain, and help you recover back to normal again!