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Achilles Heel Bursitis / Haglunds Deformity and Climbing Shoes
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May 2, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
I have a tendency to develop bursitis on my right heel, I also have a very minor protrusion (haglunds deformity) on it. This happens to be right where most modern mid-high-performance shoes plant their "slingshot rand". I'm wondering if anyone else has any experience with this, and what shoes or tricks they use to deal with it, aside from rest and ice.

I've been shopping for shoes lately and had alot of trouble finding a pair that is both a good performer and doesn't aggrivate my heel. The only pair i've found that work for me are the 5.10 galileo.
Larry S
From Easton, Pennsylvania
Joined May 28, 2010
921 points
May 7, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
Bump! Gotta be some other climbers around here dealing with this.

Anyone do any shoe modifications or have any advice aside from flat low tension shoes?
Larry S
From Easton, Pennsylvania
Joined May 28, 2010
921 points
May 7, 2013
Mt. Marcy
I think I'm in the same boat... I actually just posted something similar, cause I think my shoes are the main culprit. Wasn't sure what it was, but your mention of "Haglunds Deformity" seems to fit the bill. I unfortunately don't have any helpful info but am curious to see any positive responses. Alex M. Smith
From Bozeman, MT
Joined Feb 26, 2012
70 points
May 7, 2013
I have (mild) Haglunds on the back of both heels. I find that the Sportiva heel cup, which tends to have more space in the back to accommodate the Haglunds bumps, seems to work best. This heel cup seems to conform just right to the entire contour of my heel, spreading out the pressure. By comparison, the heel of the 5.10 and Evolv shoes has a straighter back, which seems to put all the pressure right on the Haglunds bump.

If you want a performance shoe, especially look into the Testarossa. They don't have much tension on the slingshot rand, so they put little to no tension on the heel. In fact, the primary fit complaint that people make about them is that the heel is too big/soft/loose etc. Not ideal for heel hooking, but probably good for you. Mine are sized very tight in the forefoot/toe (performance, yah), but the heel isn't tight at all.
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points
May 7, 2013
Top Roping at Scioto Audubon Metro Park.
I'm not dealing with this problem, but on the topic of heel cups being "too loose" scarpa is somewhat known for having a baggier or too large of a heel cup on most their models other than the boostic which has resolved that issue. The guy that designed the sportiva Miuras went to scarpa and designed the boostic and they fit very similar. Other than the boostic, which may not be helpful with this issue, the boostER, not boostIC, has a baggy heel and is a very high end performance shoe. You could also try the scarpa vapor, as they also have a "too" baggy heel cup. But again they fit similar to sportivas. shain picard
From Powell, Ohio
Joined Jun 17, 2012
305 points
May 7, 2013
Mt. Marcy
Hey Shain,

Have you by chance worn the Boostic/Booster? I've been curious about the fit of these, as I've heard they fixed the heel for the Boostic. I've currently got the Vapor V's (do the Vapor laces fit differently?), and they're giving me a lot of problems with my heel currently.
Alex M. Smith
From Bozeman, MT
Joined Feb 26, 2012
70 points
May 7, 2013
I have a pair of feroce's that dont have a very aggressive heel feel. They are a pretty stiff, downturned shoe so they edge well and I've been quite happy with their performance, but they dont wrench down on my heel like anasazis. you might also try the shaman, even in sizes which are quite tight on my feet the heel doesnt seem to dig in to my achilles, and I quite like the shoe. frankstoneline
Joined Apr 23, 2009
22 points
May 7, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
JCM wrote:
I have (mild) Haglunds on the back of both heels. I find that the Sportiva heel cup, which tends to have more space in the back to accommodate the Haglunds bumps, seems to work best. This heel cup seems to conform just right to the entire contour of my heel, spreading out the pressure. By comparison, the heel of the 5.10 and Evolv shoes has a straighter back, which seems to put all the pressure right on the Haglunds bump. If you want a performance shoe, especially look into the Testarossa. They don't have much tension on the slingshot rand, so they put little to no tension on the heel. In fact, the primary fit complaint that people make about them is that the heel is too big/soft/loose etc. Not ideal for heel hooking, but probably good for you. Mine are sized very tight in the forefoot/toe (performance, yah), but the heel isn't tight at all.


I have the opposite experience... the sportiva cups with the slingshot rands put pressure EXACTLY where mine hurts, while being loose everywhere else. I guess my "bump" is a little higher up my heel. I've found the flatter backs of the 5.10 and evolvs seem to distribute it over a wider area which is more bearable, thus i'm climbing in Galileo's right now. I'd love it if the sportiva stuff worked, i like their toeboxes. I'll have to check out your recommendation on the testarossa's.
Larry S
From Easton, Pennsylvania
Joined May 28, 2010
921 points
May 7, 2013
Top Roping at Scioto Audubon Metro Park.
Alex M. Smith wrote:
Hey Shain, Have you by chance worn the Boostic/Booster? I've been curious about the fit of these, as I've heard they fixed the heel for the Boostic. I've currently got the Vapor V's (do the Vapor laces fit differently?), and they're giving me a lot of problems with my heel currently.



I have not worn either of these shoes...I have done a lot of research and have heard from others that the boostic fits a lot like the miura, which I think is an incredible shoe. The heel never digs into my Achilles, but the stitching does scrape against my skin just to the right of my right foot Achilles, but I feel like that is shoe specific and may not be like that on other pairs. I would imagine that the vapor lace is different than the Velcro as is the case with most Velcro and lace counterparts. However the laces may allow you to tighten the shoe down on the very top of the foot better than the Velcro version, allowing for the heel to stay on better. I do know that scarpas are very similar to most sportivas, but other than that I can't really answer the question more specifically I'm sorry. I would definitely try out the boostic if your having too loose of heel cup issues.

Good luck with finding the right shoe!!!
shain picard
From Powell, Ohio
Joined Jun 17, 2012
305 points
May 7, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
I read somewhere about making a T shaped cut on the back of a shoe to relieve the pressure point. Anyone ever tried it on climbing shoes? Larry S
From Easton, Pennsylvania
Joined May 28, 2010
921 points
May 7, 2013
Larry S wrote:
I have the opposite experience... the sportiva cups with the slingshot rands put pressure EXACTLY where mine hurts, while being loose everywhere else. I guess my "bump" is a little higher up my heel. I've found the flatter backs of the 5.10 and evolvs seem to distribute it over a wider area which is more bearable, thus i'm climbing in Galileo's right now. I'd love it if the sportiva stuff worked, i like their toeboxes. I'll have to check out your recommendation on the testarossa's.


Yeah, the bumps on my heel are really really low, so they fall below the sportiva slingshot. This makes the heel cup *very* secure when heel hooking. I can definitely see how, with a higher bump, the Sportiva heel would not work out for you.

I guess the only real solution is to find a shop with a ton of shoes to choose from, and try on everything until you find something that works. This is pretty much what I have to do whenever I want to try a new model of shoe.
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points
May 7, 2013
BD Fuel
Larry, I got the same problem as you and have tried for years to find a solution. Surgery was 1 but not a very good solution.
My favorite shoes used to be Sportiva Viper but they really dug into my heel. I ground down the rubber at the back so they wouldn't push as hard. This was better but still hurt by the end of the day.
I have lately resorted to shoes [Scarpa Force or Evolv Defy} that have very little slingshot effect. That is by far the most comfortable. I don't have the feel and control I did in my Vipers but I can climb all day long.
What does seem to work is a corn patch around the lump. This really eases the pain on the heal. Actually I didn't have heal pain when I tried this with my Vipers but it did make the already tight shoe even tighter. Perhaps a size or to larger and then I could use those corn rings.
There is also a silicone pad that can be made to distribute the forces on the heel. Haven't gotten there yet.
rocknice2
From Montreal, Quebec
Joined Nov 27, 2006
2,998 points
May 7, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
I have the silicone pad/sock thing. it's OK with normal shoes, but on climbing shoes just seemed to make the shoe tighter and didn't help. Compounding the issue is my right foot, the foot with the issue, is also half a size larger than my left, so if i get one comfy enough for my right foot, it's huge on my left. I've been thinking of trying to find some evolv's that work for me because they will sell two different sized shoes off their website. Larry S
From Easton, Pennsylvania
Joined May 28, 2010
921 points
May 9, 2014
Larry S wrote:
I read somewhere about making a T shaped cut on the back of a shoe to relieve the pressure point. Anyone ever tried it on climbing shoes?


Hi Larry, I know you posted this over a year ago, but I thought I would reply since I've tried this now. I've got Haglunds deformity as well - I tried this today and it was instant relief! I didn't use a T-shaped cut, but my friend just cut a small (vertical) slit right where I thought most of the pressure would be if my foot was in the shoe. Doesn't seem to be the best for heel hooking, but I was able climb the rest of the day with much less pain (heel hooks and all).
Kelly Pick
Joined May 9, 2014
0 points
May 9, 2014
P6 Bivy during the massive Rim Fire.
I drill a hole in the back of some of my shoes, file down the edge of the hole.


Then I put a piece of rubber on the outside with barge cement to cover the hole.

WHen I wear them, I tape my bump on the heel and it fits perfectly.

Without the hole sportivas and others are way too painfull to wear especially on long slab days.

Give it a shot on an old pair.
mucci
From sf ca
Joined Jan 29, 2007
483 points
May 9, 2014
I have pretty big Haglunds deformities on the back of both heels. Large enough that dress shoes hurt, even if sized large due to the stiff backs. I find that the La Sportiva pythons are super comfortable. On the other hand, every pair of Evolv shoes that I have worn have been excruciating. Also, 5.10 shoes haven't necessarily been painful but the heel always feels really insecure as the bump makes for some slop back there. This is even true with a pair of Team VXi shoes that I downsized to a size 39 from my street shoe of 41. I have a pair of Pythons in size 38.5 that I could wear all day but still suction onto my heals and in general fit my feet super tight (but very comfortable). Anyone who climbs with me knows I always joke about how great LS Pythons are, but I think more than performance is how well they fit my heels despite the Haglunds bumps. Tristan Baldwin
From Amherst, NH
Joined Jul 24, 2013
134 points
Dec 9, 2014
I know this is old but I was wondering what you guys think about approach shoes.
I have a pair of guide tennies that actually gave me the haglunds heel and I'm pretty nervous to continue wearing them. I'm in Katanas for climbing and the sprotiva heel cup seems to distribute the pressure evenly.
Anyone with a similar fit in sportiva climbing shoes have a rec for approach shoes? I'm also interested in manipulating the back of shoes so I could potentially keep my guide tennies, if anyone's had any experience with that.
Lindsay Powers
Joined Dec 9, 2014
0 points
Jan 30, 2015
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
Lindsay Powers wrote:
I know this is old but I was wondering what you guys think about approach shoes. I have a pair of guide tennies that actually gave me the haglunds heel and I'm pretty nervous to continue wearing them. I'm in Katanas for climbing and the sprotiva heel cup seems to distribute the pressure evenly. Anyone with a similar fit in sportiva climbing shoes have a rec for approach shoes? I'm also interested in manipulating the back of shoes so I could potentially keep my guide tennies, if anyone's had any experience with that.


Lindsay - I just saw your post on here. I don't have much to offer - I can wear my guide tennies all day, but i have them sized a little loose. I am aware of them hitting that spot, but it's not terrible. Katana's however, are the shoe I blame for the initial aggravation on my heel. For recommendations, I also have a pair of the La Sportiva Boulder-X approach shoes - and they are fantastic shoes - every other approach shoe i've worn/owned feels sloppy in comparison. I've no issues with my heel in those, but i've been careful to avoid situations that cause it to flare up lately.
Larry S
From Easton, Pennsylvania
Joined May 28, 2010
921 points
Jan 30, 2015
BD Fuel
Never had any problems with approach or any shoes other than high slingshot climbing shoes. Sorry I can't help you there. I would be surprised that approach shoes would hurt but your climbing shoes wouldn't.

I do have an update as to what really worked well for me. So the gel padded heel socks worked ok but they weren't great. Ended up grinding away all the rubber around the lump and tapering the edge around the hole. This did soften the slingshot effect because the back is much much thinner but still had enough for the performance I would expect. Definitely better performance than low slung beginner shoes. Stretching the hole from the inside with a ballpeen hammer helped make a cavity that the lump nestled into.

I wore these shoes on a Time Wave Zero, a 23 pitch sport route. Didn't experience anything different than my partner at the end of the day. Prior to that I was only able to wear these shoes for 1 pitch and wtth gel socks for about 3-4 pitches.



I am also back to wearing my Vipers and Miuras.
Never thought that would be possible without surgery.
rocknice2
From Montreal, Quebec
Joined Nov 27, 2006
2,998 points
Jan 30, 2015
Mt.Lemmon,AZ
I have bursitis on my right heel which may be due to downsizing my shoes too drastically. So far the Miura's have been very comfortable, especially when they've stretched a bit after purchasing a snug pair. BrianLee
From Austin, Texas
Joined Jun 6, 2014
161 points
Feb 2, 2015
....
bursitis is tentonitus of the achillies tendon. Its soar, inflamed, and tender. Putting your body in stress is the best way to fix this. It takes months. Resting doesn't allow your body to build up strength. Just work it out, lay off the high performance shoes and use it until it hurts and burns. It will go away, but sucks in the process. I shattered both my heels so I'm kind of a expert. I have / had every 'itis you can imagine to a severe level. You might want to try a SMALL heel cup for a bit then get off it as it causes high heel syndrome. Just use it on and off. Its just pain.

fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net...

I'm climbing 9s now pretty solid and some easy 10s and no bursitis anymore.
Rhett Burroughs
From Rock Springs, WY
Joined Apr 28, 2006
213 points
Mar 10, 2015
Jenny Lake on the approach into Death Canyon, Gran...
Rocknice2, congrats on figuring out a solution and thank you for sharing it with us, especially the pic of your TC Pros. I saw your prior post from May 2013, and it's great you've found an approach that allowed you to climb a 23-pitch route without abnormal pain. I think all of us struggling with haglund's deformity (retrocalcaneal bursitis, pump bump, Achilles tendonitis) hope the same for ourselves.

I've had the haglund's bumps for a few years, but they only became a problem this past summer towards the end of a six-month climbing trip. I was climbing multi-pitch trad daily, and my TC Pros did a number on my heels, aggravating the prior bumps in a major way, particularly the right foot. (Both of my bumps are on the outsides of my heels, as it appears yours is.) I've experimented with pretty much everything from these threads since: moleskin around the bump (alternatively, on the bump), a T-shaped cut through the boomerang rand, pushing out a bubble from the inside w/ a vice-grip & heat, trying less-aggressive shoes with straight heel cups, and finally, climbing barefoot and getting ample rest and taking topical and oral NSAIDs.

Unfortunately I have not found a solution that works for me yet. The closest I've come is by applying a strip of moleskin around the base of my heal, covering the bump and surrounding area. I am going to make the modifications that you did and see how that goes. I'll try it on my old TC Pros and then on a new pair. For awhile I thought I needed a different shoe, but now I'm leaning towards just these modifications, as every pair of shoes seems to hurt a bit regardless, without the modifications. (Now my climbing partner would heckle me for my loyalty to TC Pros, which has turned love-hate b/c Sportiva's boomerang rand aggravated the condition.)

I am about to embark on another road trip, this time through southern China, so hopefully I get this worked out haha. Thanks for the posts everyone. Keep sharing your successes and failures so we can crack this one.
DanJ
Joined Mar 8, 2014
15 points
Mar 30, 2015
Hi everybody! I'm new to climbing (about a month) and got the 5.10 rogues to start out. They seemed comfortable enough at first, the toe box has gotten better but the heel started to kill my haglunds last week. Super sucks since I'm rather addicted at this point.
I found this post
Outer layer of rubber removed from slingshot rand
Outer layer of rubber removed from slingshot rand

llanberisresoles.com/pages/mod...
They describe how to do it here.
Since I'm new to climbing I'm gonna return my rogues and see if I can find a less aggressive heel first. Thanks for all the recommendations and good luck to all us haglunding out there!
Downtownt
Joined Mar 30, 2015
6 points
Apr 25, 2015
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
Update on my story on coping with the problem on my heel:

I found that the LaSportiva Boulder-X approach shoes I have climb really well and don't hurt my heel at all. They edge really well, but you pretty much can't feel anything your foot is on. I wore them for 2 months in the gym before finding a climbing shoe that worked for my heel right out of the box.

Evolv Royale's. They're marketed as a beginner shoe, (Flat last, symmetric toebox) but I've been digging them - no heel pain with them and I still climb well with them - they're not holding me back right now. They've got a low tension heel with unlined leather in the back - so you could stretch out a spot for your heel bump if you need.

I was looking for a shoe I can use for training / mileage, and they fit the bill for me. They're also cheap, i got them at my local shop for $69.
Larry S
From Easton, Pennsylvania
Joined May 28, 2010
921 points
Apr 27, 2015
shain picard wrote:
I'm not dealing with this problem, but on the topic of heel cups being "too loose" scarpa is somewhat known for having a baggier or too large of a heel cup on most their models other than the boostic which has resolved that issue. The guy that designed the sportiva Miuras went to scarpa and designed the boostic and they fit very similar. Other than the boostic, which may not be helpful with this issue, the boostER, not boostIC, has a baggy heel and is a very high end performance shoe. You could also try the scarpa vapor, as they also have a "too" baggy heel cup. But again they fit similar to sportivas.


Do yoy known when that Guy from lasporrtiva left for scarpa ??
Where did you heard that ??

I am asking that because i just bought a new miura, 5 years after my last purchase, and i notice the new miura sizing is different. They are 1 full size larger


Thanks
waltereo
Joined Jul 7, 2007
5 points


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