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Haglund's deformity refers to a bony protrusion on the back of the heel. When pressure is placed on this enlarged bone, the fluid-filled sac between the bone and Achilles tendon may become inflamed. The soft tissue around the Achilles tendon may also become red and irritated. This condition is often seen in young women who wear high-heeled shoes and, for this reason, it is often referred to as the "pump bump".
Causes of Haglund's deformity
While Haglund's deformity is caused by an enlarged bone on the heel, the pain and inflammation associated with the condition occurs as a result of pressure that pushes the bone against the Achilles tendon. Some individuals have a foot structure that makes them more susceptible to Haglund's deformity. However, the condition is common among those who wear shoes with rigid backs that rub against the heel or high-arches that tilt the heel backward toward the tendon.
Haglund's deformity symptoms
Haglund's deformity is characterized by a large, bony protrusion on the back of the heel. When pressure is placed on the heel, the surrounding tissue becomes red and inflamed. Pain may also be felt in the area where the bone connects to the Achilles tendon. These symptoms are often noticed after walking in uncomfortable shoes that rub against or put pressure on the heel.
Treatment of Haglund's deformity
Non-surgical options are successful in treating symptoms of Haglund's deformity. However, surgical alternatives are available to correct the deformity when symptoms are too severe.
The swelling associated with Haglund's deformity can typically be addressed with anti-inflammatory medications and cold compresses, while pain can usually be treated with topical pain medications. Further irritation to the surrounding tissue can be prevented by wearing backless shoes or using heel pads. Orthotics also are beneficial. And, in some cases, exercises that stretch the Achilles tendon can help alleviate some of the pressure. If the condition becomes more severe, a cast or boot can help immobilize the foot and allow surrounding tissues to heal.
While non-surgical methods can help alleviate pain and inflammation, they will not reduce the bony protrusion that is the source of the problem. This can only be done through surgery. If non-surgical treatments are not providing sufficient relief of your symptoms, Dr. Litsas can provide you surgical options to address the underlying cause.