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Achilles Heel Bursitis / Haglunds Deformity and Climbing Shoes
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By Larry S
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.

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By Larry S
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?

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By Alex M. Smith
From Jersey City, NJ
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.

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
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.

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By shain picard
From Powell, Ohio
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.

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By Alex M. Smith
From Jersey City, NJ
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.

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By frankstoneline
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.

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By Larry S
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.

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By shain picard
From Powell, Ohio
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!!!

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By Larry S
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?

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
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.

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By rocknice2
From Montreal, Quebec
May 7, 2013
BD ice tool fusion2
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.

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By Larry S
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.

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By Kelly Pick
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).

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By mucci
From sf ca
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.

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By Tristan Baldwin
From Amherst, NH
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.

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