Haglund’s Deformity: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

The first description of Haglund’s deformity traces back to 1927. However, the condition is yet to be completely understood by health professionals. Known as “pump bump” and associated with retrocalcaneal exostosis, this condition deals with abnormalities in the bone as well as the soft tissues of the foot. When the bone section enlarges, Haglund’s deformity will arise. As a result of the bone enlargement, the soft tissue will become irritated. The pain kicks in when the bone lump rubs against shoes, especially rigid ones. Foot conditions or genetic factors such as high arches in the foot and a tight Achilles tendon are a few probable causes for this condition. There are factors that increase the risk of developing pump bump, such as: tight and unsupportive footwear, an injury, weight gain, and walking on the outside of the heel.

The symptoms of Haglund’s deformity include:

  • A bump visible on the back of the heel
  • Pain at the back of the heel (where the Achilles tendon is attached to the heel)
  • Swelling and redness where the visible bump is

There are ways to diagnose this condition. Most common and old-fashioned is the x-ray. This, however, is not used individually to assess the condition. An x-ray will usually detect bone protrusion. Along with this, ultrasound and MRI will both be used to help provide an accurate diagnosis. They both play a role in identifying pathologies in the Achilles tendon and bursa. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac between the bone and surrounded by soft tissue. You should consult your health practitioner on receiving an accurate diagnosis for Haglund’s deformity.

Are You Suffering from Pump Bump?

Aftering getting a diagnosis, it may be overwhelming to see genetic and risk factors result in pump bump. Fret not, there is a lot to do to combat the condition. First, it’s time to ditch the tight and uncomfortable shoes if you haven’t done so already. Orthotic shoes can be custom and classy, meeting both your needs for comfortable footwear and staying up-to-date with the fashion trends. Healing from a surgery can be hindering your daily tasks since the recovery time is extensive. With other options such as endoscopic surgery⁠—which makes smaller incisions thereby reducing recovery time—the outcome is not ideal for the long-term. Pain  from pump bump was reported to disappear in most patients a year post-surgery. Therefore, orthotics is an ideal option for those wanting to stray away from surgery.

In the meantime, while you are waiting and deciding what to do, try some exercises to help you, especially if you have a tight Achilles tendon. These include towel stretches to flex your feet, heel cord stretches for the back of your heel, and heel raises.

Get Rid of That Unsightly Pump Bump

While treatment options can be discussed at length, there are many things you can do at home to help get rid of the pump bump. For instance, you can start by padding the back of your shoe for extra support, especially if your shoes do not provide adequate support. The softer the material, the better it is for the protruding bone in pump bump. Remember, when you have a pump bump, it will only get worse if the protruding bone rubs against a rigid surface. You can even preferably go for open-heeled shoes, provided you do not have any existing structural issues with your foot. If you’re an athlete, it’s possible that your Haglund’s deformity may have formed because of a sports injury. What will make it worse? More sports. Cut down on the intense workouts and take some time to relax. Apply an ice pack if pain or swelling occurs for about 20 minutes. At home, you can also take ibuprofen to help you with your condition such as Advil. The balance of orthotics (or surgery) and maintenance at home will ensure you recover faster.

Haglund’s Deformity  Treatment – Essex Union Podiatry

Taking preventative measures for pump bump is not enough for the pump bump to disappear. Here, we list many treatment options that are especially recommended by Essex Union Podiatry. The following includes:

  • Getting diathermy (ultrasound treatment) done to relieve foot pain
    • Diathermy uses heat bursts through electric currents which can relieve pain, encourage circulation, and even eradicate unhealthy issue
  • Wearing custom orthotics
  • Getting extracorporeal pulse activation technology (EPAT) to treat pump bump
    • This is a type of extracorporeal shock wave therapy that can help speed up the recovery process and augment blood circulation like diathermy
  • Wearing a prescribed boot or cast
  • Trying out open-back shoes like clogs
  • Icing the bump regularly throughout the day for about 20-40 minutes until swelling has reduced
  • Massaging the soft tissue area

If you do not have Haglund’s deformity, then it’s important to invest in preventative measures. This includes: wearing supportive and comfortable footwear, donning well-fitted socks with shoes, and investing in open-back shoes. Overall, these practices are good for your feet and can prevent the occurrence of other foot conditions. It never hurts to take good preventative measures. That being said, wearing a pair of heels once in a while is not harmful. Ideally, wear footwear according to what best suits your foot’s needs.

Can Haglund’s deformity go away?

When managed, the pain and swelling from Haglund’s deformity can disappear. The good thing about orthotics is that it can change the foot position overtime so that the lump does not rub against the back of the heel. If you want the bump to go away entirely, then this is where surgery comes into play. Since the condition itself forms due to the enlargement of the bone, then you have to get surgery to remove that excess bone. However, there are options along with orthotics that can be tried before resorting to extreme measures, such as using a walking boot or cast. Most importantly, your wardrobe for footwear and daily lifestyle will determine if Haglund’s deformity can be treated properly.

If you are experiencing pump bumps and want professional help, contact Mobility on Mainway today! Our Burlington foot specialists will ensure all your foot needs are taken care of. Call us today at 289-245-6624.

Scroll to Top