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What is Haglund’s Deformity?

Haglund’s deformity is a condition that involves the enlargement of the bony prominence at the back of the heel, also known as the heel bone. This condition is often referred to as a “pump bump” because it is commonly associated with wearing tight, stiff shoes like high heels that repeatedly rub against the back of the heel.

Causes and Risk Factors of Haglund’s Deformity (Retrocalcaneal Bursitis)

Haglund’s deformity or Retrocalcaneal bursitis is a condition that occurs when the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone, becomes inflamed. There are several causes and risk factors associated with this condition, including:

Repetitive or overuse activities

Engaging in repetitive activities like running or jumping can put excess pressure on the bursa, leading to inflammation and irritation.

Foot structure

People with high arches or flat feet may be at an increased risk of developing retrocalcaneal bursitis due to the abnormal distribution of weight and pressure on the foot.

Tight footwear

Wearing shoes that are too tight or have a stiff heel can cause irritation and inflammation of the bursa.

Previous injury

A previous injury to the Achilles tendon or the heel bone can increase the risk of developing retrocalcaneal bursitis.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or psoriatic arthritis can increase the risk of developing bursitis.


Older adults are more likely to develop retrocalcaneal bursitis due to the natural wear and tear on the foot over time.

Symptoms of Haglund’s Deformity (Retrocalcaneal Bursitis)

The symptoms of Haglund’s deformity can vary depending on the severity of the condition, but common signs and symptoms include:

  • A visible bump at the back of the heel, which may be red, swollen, or tender to the touch.
    Pain or discomfort in the heel, especially when wearing shoes or walking on hard surfaces.
    Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which can cause stiffness, swelling, and pain in the back of the ankle.
  • Limited range of motion in the ankle, which may make it difficult to walk or perform other physical activities.
  • Blisters or calluses on the heel, which may develop as a result of friction from shoes rubbing against the bony prominence.
  • Difficulty fitting into shoes or wearing certain types of footwear due to the enlarged heel bone.

Haglund’s Deformity (Retrocalcaneal Bursitis) Treatment Options

THe treatment for Haglund’s deformity depends on the severity of the condition and the individual’s symptoms. In general, treatment options may include:

  1. Rest and activity modification: resting the affected foot and avoiding activities that aggravate the condition can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  2. Ice therapy: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation.
    Pain relief medications: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  3. Shoe modifications: Wearing shoes that fit properly and have a soft back or open heel can reduce pressure on the heel and provide relief.
  4. Physical therapy: Specific stretching and strengthening exercises may be recommended to improve flexibility, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
  5. Orthotics: Custom shoe inserts, such as arch supports or heel cups, can help redistribute pressure and reduce friction on the heel.
  6. Surgical intervention: In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the bony prominence and reshape the heel bone.

Frequently Asked Questions about Haglund's Deformity

Haglund’s deformity does not typically go away on its own as it is caused by a structural abnormality of the foot. However, in some cases, the symptoms improve with conservative treatment such as rest, ice, medication, and shoe modifications. These measures can help reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area, but they may not address the underlying bony prominence.

If left untreated, Haglund’s deformity can worsen over time, causing ongoing pain and discomfort. In severe cases, it can also lead to Achilles tendonitis or other complications.

Retrocalcaneal bursitis is typically diagnosed by a healthcare professional. During an exam, the healthcare professional will look for signs of swelling, tenderness, and redness around the heel and ankle. They may also apply pressure to the area to assess for pain or discomfort

Imaging tests may also be used to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other conditions. These may include:

  • X-rays: these can help identify any abnormalities in the bones or joints of the foot and ankle.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): This can provide a more detailed view of the soft tissues, including the brusa and surrounding tendons.
  • Ultrasound: This can also be used to visualize the bursa and surrounding tissues to assess for signs of inflammation or fluid accumulation

The animation content provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any specific questions you may have regarding a medical condition or procedure.