Haglund’s Deformity

Haglund’s deformity causes problems with the soft tissues as well as the foot bone.

This is a type of abnormality that’s displayed by a bony enlargement that’s situated around the back of the foot. The soft tissue surrounding the Achilles tendon can then become highly irritated because the enlargement scrapes against shoes. This scraping usually leads to the development of an inflamed bursa, which is known as bursitis. The bursa is located between the bone and the tendon, which means that it can be very painful when you start suffering from such a condition. The development of bursitis on your foot commonly causes the enlargement to worsen and become even bigger, which generally creates more pain.

Knowing more about the details of this condition and what causes the problem may assist you in preventing it from occurring in the first place.



The symptoms that you’ll experience with this condition largely depend on how severe the abnormality is. Most of the symptoms can range from mild to severe and can worsen without treatment, which is why it’s important to obtain treatment as soon as you notice the symptoms. There will be a very visible bump located on the back of your heel. The presence of this bump usually causes high amounts of pain when walking, redness, and swelling around the heel, and blisters in the area whenever your shoe scrapes against the bump. The distinct nature of these symptoms usually allows a doctor to diagnose the condition with a visual examination of the foot.

Causes of Haglund’s Deformity

There’s no apparent cause for Haglund’s deformity. There are, however, a variety of factors that can heighten the chance of someone developing this condition. If your heel bone slopes outward or your Achilles tendons are tighter than normal, you may be more likely to develop this condition. High arches can also be a factor in why an individual suffers from Haglund’s deformity. A high placement of your arches means that your heel is pushed slightly backwards while you walk, which could cause the Achilles tendon to rub against your shoe.

If you notice that your feet are shaped like any of the examples mentioned above, there are several types of shoes that you should avoid. Wearing certain shoes with these foot types can increase the likelihood that you will suffer from Haglund’s deformity. The shoes that you should avoid wearing on a regular basis include:

  • Rain boots or winter boots that are made with a tight construction
  • Ice skates
  • Stiff dress shoes
  • Work boots with a steel toe

Although Haglund’s deformity doesn’t cause a large number of complications, the pain and loss of motion that occur with this condition make it frustrating to deal with, which is why you’ll likely want to know how to prevent this abnormality from reoccurring. For one, it’s important that you wear the right shoes, which means that you should avoid shoes that come with a rigid and stiff heel. You should also consider using orthotic devices and arch supports to provide a better shape to the foot. Since a tightening of the Achilles tendon can be a factor in the development of this condition, make sure that you perform various stretching exercises on a regular basis. Lastly, it’s important that you minimize running uphill or on hard surfaces.

Most treatments focus on reducing the pain and inflammation that occur when you’ve developed bursitis, which means that the actual bony protrusion can’t be treated with non-surgical options. Heel lifts, heel pads, stretching exercises, and physical therapy are the first treatments that are considered for this deformity. If the non-surgical treatments aren’t working like they should, you could consider surgery to get rid of the bony protrusion altogether. Most of these surgeries will remove a portion of the heel bone to ensure that no aspect of it is protruding. The least invasive surgery that’s used for treating Haglund’s deformity is the ankle arthroscopy procedure, which uses very small incisions throughout the treatment.

Sign up for insider tips and health care news

    Schedule An Appointment