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What is that bump on the back of my heel? Haglund’s deformity: A common foot condition that can be managed and prevented

Haglund’s deformity: No, it isn’t a character from Harry Potter.. It is a REAL LIFE foot condition, and sometimes a very painful one!

So, what is Haglund’s Deformity? It is a bony enlargement on the back of the heel; often referred to as a “pump-bump”. It is a hereditary condition, where people with certain foot structures are likely to be at risk. People with high-arched feet, tight calves or those who walk on the outside edge of their shoes are more prone to developing Haglund’s.


Why the nickname “pump-bump”? The rigid backs of high-heeled shoes (or any shoe in fact) can create pressure and aggravation to the bursae, which protects the enlargement, leading to inflammation and PAIN.

Symptoms of Haglund’s deformity include:

– A noticeable “bump” on the back of the heel

– Pain in the back of the heel

-Swelling and redness of the back of the heel

How is it diagnosed? A Podiatrist can tell it is a Haglund’s deformity by the signs and symptoms, but they may want to confirm by ordering an X-ray.

What are the treatment options? A treatment plan can be guided by a Podiatrist. The aim of treatment is to:

-Reduce inflammation by medication and ice-therapy

-Stretch or strengthen associated muscles which may be contributing to the condition

– Modify shoewear if the shoe is causing irritation to the “bump”

– Add heel lifts or heel padding to help position the foot where it won’t cause pressure

– Prescribe orthotics (in some cases) to realign foot posture which is causing the deformity in the first place

A Podiatrist is the primary physician to assist your management, but may need a surgical opinion is these treatments fail to improve pain…

A painful Haglund’s deformity can be prevented with the following:

– appropriate shoes; avoid shoes with a rigid backing AND high heels

–  stretching the leg muscles regularly

– Using arch-supports or orthotic devices if necessary

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Written by

Adam Wiles

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