Haglund’s Deformity

With certain medical issues, one problem leads to another. For example, when Haglund’s deformity causes bursitis. This bony bump irritates soft tissue and your body will be quick to let you know there is a problem. The painful symptoms may bring you into one of our Florida podiatry offices for treatment, but there are prevention methods you can take to reduce your risk of developing this condition.

Pain in the back of the heels

What is Haglund’s Deformity?

Haglund’s Deformity is also known as “pump bump,” for reasons that will be explained shortly. It is readily identified by a bony bump that protrudes on the back of the heel. The bump itself generally doesn’t cause issues when not faced with pressure, but wearing closed shoes causes the bump to irritate soft tissue at the back of the heel.

The tissue that becomes irritated is a bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac that sits between the bone and the Achilles tendon. Its function is to provide cushioning and act as a lubricant of sorts to allow the tendon to slide more easily. When the bump is pushed into the sac, the bursa responds by becoming inflamed, triggering painful sensations, and may be accompanied by redness. This is known as bursitis.

We see many cases that develop because of shoes that are tight or have stiff, rigid heels. This is especially true for women who elect to wear pump-style high heel shoes. Therefore, Haglund’s has earned the “pump bump” nickname.

When faced with persistent pressure from footwear and a tight Achilles tendon, the body responds by making calcium deposits that build up in time on the bone. This calcification becomes the bony protrusion that can be observed on the back of the heel.

In addition to high-heeled footwear, other causes of Haglund’s includes tight Achilles tendons, high foot arches, and gait patterns that lead to excess pressure on the outside of the heel.

Haglund’s Deformity Treatment and Prevention

Typically, we endeavor to relieve pain and remove pressure from the heel bone through conservative treatment methods. Nonsurgical care is always our first option and can include measures such as:

  • Custom orthotics – These medical devices can redistribute pressure and forces on the affected area.
  • Footwear modification – We may recommend that you wear clogs or other open-back shoes.
  • Heel pads – Padding can help by alleviating pressure from your footwear on the heel area.
  • Icing – 20-40 minutes of icing, spread out through the course of the day, will further reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Medication – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are particularly helpful for providing pain and inflammation relief.
  • Stretching exercises for the Achilles tendon – Gentle stretching reduces the pull of the Achilles tendon from the back of the heel.

When conservative care does not produce the desired results, we may recommend a surgical procedure to provide optimal relief. This will often involve removing excess bone tissue that is causing the problem and then smoothing down the surface. If this is the treatment you wish to pursue, we will discuss the procedure with you in detail before the surgery so you know exactly what to expect.

There are several steps that you can take to prevent this condition from developing in the first place, starting with your choice in footwear. Always limit the amount of time spent wearing high-heeled shoes, like pumps and stilettos. You do not have to avoid them completely, but save your stylish footwear for special events.

Wearing padded socks or open-backed shoes are other options that can reduce your risk of developing Haglund’s. So too will a regular stretching regimen that features exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon. Runners can benefit by running on softer surfaces, avoiding frequent hill work, and routinely stretching the Achilles tendon.

When you have pain in the back of the heel, be sure to come see us at Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida so we can evaluate your situation. We will then give you an accurate diagnosis and create an effective treatment plan to eliminate painful symptoms and care for the condition.

Follow the lead of our many satisfied patients who already make our office their first choice for foot and ankle care. Contact us today. Request your appointment with any of our Florida podiatry offices—Orlando, Lake Mary, Tavares, Altamonte Springs, and Kissimmee—online or give us a call at 407-339-7759 and 352-589-9550 (if you call from Lake County) for additional information.