Treatment of Haglund’s Deformity: Surgical and Not

Haglund’s Deformity: What Is It?

Haglund’s deformity is a painful condition on the back of the heel. Pressure on the heel bone can cause irritation and excessive bone growth. This growth adds further pressure to the bursa (fluid-filled sacs that cushion bones and tendons). Inflamed bursa, or bursitis, triggers increased calcium build-up in the heel and continues the cycle of pain and inflammation. Read here to find treatment options for Haglund’s Deformity.

How Does it Start?

Typically Haglund’s deformity is triggered by wearing shoes with a high-heel or a stiff back that constantly rubs the heel; however, some patients are genetically predisposed to it. A strained Achilles tendon, walking on your heels, and high arches also contribute to developing Haglund’s deformity.

What Are the Symptoms? 

Common symptoms of Haglund’s deformity include heel pain, a palpable bony protrusion, and redness at the back of the heel. 

Haglund’s Deformity: Treatments

Your doctor will recommend conservative treatments first. 

Symptomatic Treatments

Here are some common suggestions for taking care of day-to-day symptoms of Haglund’s deformity

  • over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen
  • icing your heel for 20 minutes a day
  • gentle stretches to relieve tension on your Achilles tendon
  • massage 
  • ultrasound treatments
  • regular physical therapy exercises

Preventative Treatments

To prevent or slow the progression of Haglund’s deformity:

  • wear shoes that have a soft back or slip-on shoes
  • custom orthotics to support high arches
  • heel pads to cushion inflamed areas
  • heel lifts to adjust for continued rubbing on your heel
  • soft cast or walking boot to support your foot and relieve pressure
  • avoid excessive exercise, especially walking or running uphill

Surgical Treatments 

Sometimes surgery is a necessary treatment for Haglund’s deformity. Surgery is only recommended when non-invasive treatments have not provided the relief that the doctor and patient were expecting. General anesthesia is required, but the surgery is simple and typically doesn’t last very long. Your doctor may cut out the extra bone growth by cutting or filing it down. If needed, they can also address any issues with the Achilles tendon. The incision is closed with stitches. 

After Surgery

Most patients use crutches for the first few days after surgery and then transition to a walking boot for several more weeks. You may benefit from physical therapy exercises and stretches to strengthen the tendons and muscles after surgery. At your follow-up appointment, your doctor will examine the surgical site, remove the stitches when appropriate, and take x-rays. 

When to Contact Your Doctor

As you recover from surgery watch for the following signs of infection and contact your doctor immediately if you experience any:

  • extreme pain
  • redness, warmth, and swelling at the incision site
  • fever

Expected Outcome

After several weeks of recovery, most patients experience total pain relief. 

Your Next Step for Haglund’s Deformity Treatment

If you have been experiencing heel pain, contact us at Best Foot Doctor NY to discuss treatment options for Haglund’s Deformity.  Our knowledgeable staff provides compassionate care to help you today!

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