After doing some reading online, you've tentatively diagnosed the swelling and pain at the back of your foot as Haglund's syndrome. A foot doctor -- medically known as a podiatrist -- can provide a definitive diagnosis and treat the problem. With this doctor's help, you'll also be able to prevent a future episode.
ABOUT HAGLUND'S SYNDROME
Inflammation and swelling of the Achilles tendon along with the back of the heel characterize Haglund's syndrome. It's essentially a combination of Achilles tendinitis and heel bursitis.
The condition is associated with an enlarged heel bone or a bony growth known as a heel spur. People commonly develop Haglund's syndrome because their shoes put too much pressure on the back of the heel, which irritates the Achilles tendon and the heel bursa -- a fluid-filled sac providing lubrication between the tendon and heel bone.
High heels can cause the problem, and so can athletic shoes that compress the back of the foot while running or doing other activities on your feet. If you tend to wear shoes with a stiff, closed heel at work or elsewhere, that also can lead to Haglund's syndrome.
Your podiatrist will do a hands-on physical exam of your foot. He or she will likely want you to have X-rays to verify that you have the abnormally large heel bone associated with Haglund's syndrome.
Using rest, ice, compression and elevation is the standard therapy for many foot and leg injuries. This combination of treatments reduces inflammation and pain.
You can do the RICE method by wrapping a towel around your foot with an ice pack inside and resting your foot on a chair. A more convenient way is to use a specialized foot wrap you can get from your podiatrist. This wrap makes sure the ice pack stays in one place, even if you get up and move around for a bit.
The podiatrist will give you instructions on how long and how often to ice your heel and tendon.
After the swelling and inflammation has decreased, switching to warm compression can be useful for stimulating blood flow to the affected area. The increase in circulation brings extra nutrients and oxygen for healing. Your podiatrist can set you up with a foot wrap that provides deep-heat treatment in an easy, convenient way.
Ultrasound sends deep-heat stimulation further into the tendon and heel than can be accomplished with an outer wrap.
The podiatrist may inject the affected area with cortisone, a type of corticosteroid that reduces inflammation. This is a highly effective treatment. You probably would only need one injection.
If your injury has relatively severe symptoms that linger on for more than a few weeks, your podiatrist may want you to participate in some physical therapy sessions. The therapist will help you gently exercise your calf, foot, tendon and ankle in ways that don't aggravate the problem. Exercise strengthens the area and encourages it to heal.
The foot doctor may recommend wearing customized shoe inserts known as orthotics. The X-rays will help the doctor design these inserts to perfectly fit your feet. Wearing cushioned heel pads also can help prevent another occurrence of pain and inflammation.
A change of footwear will probably be necessary. The podiatrist can provide you with recommendations for work, athletic and casual shoes. If you have typically worn high heels much of the time, you'll need to scale back on that habit. Wearing shoes with an open heel, such as clogs and certain types of sandals, can prevent future episodes. If that doesn't appeal to you, at least choose shoes that are not tight in back.
If you continue to have problems that prevent you from doing activities you enjoy, you may want to consider surgery to decrease the size of your heel bone. The foot doctor can perform this operation.
Make an appointment with a foot doctor so you can begin medical therapy for Haglund's syndrome. You'll likely experience a rapid decrease in symptoms if you follow allow the doctor's instructions. If longer-term or more intensive treatment is needed, you can discuss your options with the podiatrist and make a plan for resolving the problem. For more information, visit websites like http://www.footanklesurgerynyc.com.