What are the white bumps on the heels?

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When the foot is assessed, there might be small-sized, white bumps on the heels. It is important to note that these lumps are generally painless and many wonder what they are and why they are there. These white-colored bumps on the heels are called as piezogenic pedal papules. These are considered harmless and usually misdiagnosed as warts or cysts by most doctors.

What are piezogenic pedal papules?

These are described as small-sized white bumps that form on the exterior of the heel. Take note that these bumps are more evident when the individual places pressure on the feet while standing.

When lying or sitting down, these bumps are not perceivable since there is no pressure present. These papules are usually painless, but can cause mild to moderate pain in some cases if there is added pressure on the feet.

White bumps on the heel
The reason why these white bumps on the heel form is due to the amount of pressure exerted on the feet in any given time span.

What are the possible causes?

The reason why these white bumps on the heel form is due to the amount of pressure exerted on the feet in any given time span. The deposits of subcutaneous fat become herniated due to extended periods of force, thus protruding through the fascial lining of the heels. In studies conducted, the only way to properly diagnose this condition is through physical examination.


The treatment is not usually required when an individual develops piezogenic pedal papules, but there are measures to carry out to help alleviate any pain experienced. Avoid extended periods of standing and cutting down weight are beneficial. Other treatment options include the use of heel cups inside the shoes to minimize pressure on the heels. In severe cases, surgery might be required to put a stop to the pain and correct the appearance of the heel.

Common misconceptions

Even though piezogenic pedal papules can be diagnosed via physical examination, misdiagnosis is quite common. In some cases, these bumps have been managed as boils, warts or cysts despite the fact that they are not filled with fluid or caused by any virus.

Another misconception regarding these papules is that they are genetic. Take note that genetics and race has no whatsoever link with these formations and can strike anyone at any time. Those who are at high risk include young, athletic individuals and women but men have a low risk as well.

Considerations to bear in mind

Repeated trauma and obesity to the heels can increase the risk for these white bumps to become painful. Another consideration that increases the risk for ending up with heel pain due to the presence of the piezogenic pedal papules usually includes prolonged periods of standing such as with work-related tasks. A doctor should be consulted if the individual experiences severe pain, leakage of fluids or indications of infection such as tenderness that occurs along with bump soreness.

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