What is Haglund’s Deformity?

Jun 28, 2022

Haglund’s Deformity is when the bone and the soft tissue have an abnormality in the Achilles tendon area on the back of the heel. The tissue gets irritated when the bone-like enlargement on the back of the heel rubs against things like the heel of your shoe. In the more severe cases, you can see a bone-like bump on the back of your heel that can be fairly painful. 

What Are Symptoms of Haglund’s Deformity?

Here are some signs that you have Haglund’s Deformity:

  • Redness around the area where the affected tissue is at. 
  • Swelling on the heel of the foot. 
  • A noticeable hard lump on the heel of the foot with the swelling. 
  • Pain around the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel. 

What Causes Haglund’s Deformity?

Several causes can go into developing Haglund’s Deformity. Here are some of the more common causes:

  • Having a high arched foot can result in getting Haglund’s Deformity since you have to put more pressure on the other side of the foot.
  • Having a naturally tight Achilles tendon can begin giving you issues if you don’t stretch it out enough.
  • Walking on the sides of your foot will put pressure on those areas and could begin to form the lump.
Showing Haglund's deformity on the back of a man's foot

What Treatment Options Are There? 

This will depend on the severity of your case. However, the majority of cases do not require surgery to get fixed. Haglund’s Deformity is fairly easy to treat but does take some time for most cases to recover one hundred percent. Severe cases will have a harder and longer recovery time due to the possibility of needing surgery. 

Surgery may be needed if any bones end up protruding from the foot behind the heel. It will include repairing the Achilles tendon and removing the lump. This will also require you to wear a cast if you have to have surgery as well. 


You don’t need anything too special for easing the pain of Haglund’s Deformity. Simple over-the-counter ibuprofen, aspirin, (NSAIDs), or (Bufferin) will work just fine. If you have more severe pain than those medications can ease, then you need to contact our office


Doing some small exercises for your heels can help to strengthen your Achilles tendon without causing you any more damage if done correctly.  Here are some to help:

  • Heel Raises – Balance your weight on the balls of your feet and rise onto your toes. Hold this pose for a few seconds and slowly lower yourself back down. If you need to, hold onto a wall or something stable to help with balance.
  • Stretches – Sitting on the floor, stretch your legs fully in front of you. Reach for the balls of your feet, towards the base of the heel (closest to the floor). Slightly pull them towards you and hold them for a few seconds. You can also use a towel wrapped around the bottom of your foot to help if you cannot reach your toes.
  • Heel Drops – Standing on the edge of a bottom stair, put the balls of your feet over the edge. Slightly lower them downwards while balancing yourself on top of the stair. Hold for a few seconds. Make sure to hold onto a railing to prevent losing your balance. 

Heel Pads

A heel pad is a cushion that is usually fitted into material that’s in the form of a sock, just without the toes covered. This helps to relieve pressure from the heel, which keeps you from walking on the sides of your foot while straightening you. 

Shoe Modification

You need a pair of shoes that you can be comfortable wearing and don’t have a stiff back to them. Keeping your shoes from irritating the lump will save you from a lot of pain and an even worse condition. Soft, flexible, or even backless shoes altogether are preferred and will help the most in correcting your Haglund’s Deformity.  

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is great because it’ll help you figure out a schedule and a routine for treatment that will best suit you and your situation. It’s a very common and popular option for people to work on healing their Achilles tendon. 

Orthotic Devices

Custom Orthotics are prescribed to you and is custom-made specifically for you and your situation to give you the best chance of reducing any more irritation. They fit right into your shoes quickly without problems. You must get a good pair as you want it to help instead of just prolonging the problem. 


In most cases, you won’t have to worry about having surgery on your Achilles tendon. However, if it turns out that you do need to have surgery because it’s getting too hard for you to walk or do your daily tasks with ease, you’ll want to plan on being down for a few weeks. It will take a while for you to fully heal and don’t want to risk the chance of hurting by moving around too much, too early.  

Being a bit immobile for a while will be well worth it though once you feel like your old self before you developed Haglund’s Deformity. Fully healing the area will have you walking and doing the things you used to love every day.

Stretching to help with Haglund's deformity

How to Prevent Haglund’s Deformity

Once you’ve gotten your Haglund’s Deformity cleared up and healed, it’s important to take the proper precautions afterward to prevent anything from happening again.  

  • Shoes – Wear comfortable shoes that are non-restrictive and are preferably open-backed for maximum comfortability.
  • Arch Supports or Orthotic Devices – While both are very good ideas, custom orthotics will give you the best chance at not developing Haglund’s Deformity again. Either way, make sure you get a good pair/brand that will be fitted to your feet.
  • Regular Stretches and Exercises for Achilles Tendon – Don’t skip these as it’s a crucial step in getting your Haglund’s Deformity cleared up safely and comfortably.
  • Know Where to Run At – You don’t want to run on any hard surfaces like concrete if you have Haglund’s Deformity. You should find a softer terrain like a soft dirt trail, sand, or gravel. Running uphill may also strain your Achilles tendon which could cause pain to flare up. Run on level ground only if possible so there isn’t too much pressure that makes your condition worse.

Contact Us Today!

At Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists, we can help you begin your journey of fixing your Achilles tendon whether you have a mild case or a severe case of Haglund’s Deformity. We’ll be there with you through the process and get you back to doing the things you love again. Contact us to start your journey to pain relief today!



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