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Haglund's deformity

A Haglund's deformity is a bony lump that appears at the back of the heel. A Haglund's deformity can make finding suitable footwear difficult; this is because footwear can aggravate the deformity, leading to pain and tenderness.

What is a Haglund's deformity?

A Haglund's deformity appears as a bony lump at the back of the heel just below the ankle at the point where the Achilles tendon inserts into the heel bone. Other names for a Haglund's deformity include:

  • Haglund's prominence
  • 'Pump bump'
  • Retrocalcaneal exostosis

What causes a Haglund's deformity?

A Haglund's deformity develops when the heel bone is exposed to too much friction and pressure. When the heel bone is exposed to too much friction and pressure it becomes irritated and the bone enlarges in order to protect itself. The Haglund's deformity is then irritated by the heel counter (the shoe back), which then leads to pain, tenderness and swelling. The most common cause of Haglund's deformity includes:

  • Excessive pressure from the back of a shoe
  • A tight Achilles tendon (the Achilles tendon attaches at the back of the heel
  • A foot with a high arch
  • Over-pronation

What are the signs and symptoms of a Haglund's deformity?

The signs and symptoms of a Haglund's deformity include:

  • A hard bony lump at the back of the heel
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling (the Achilles tendon may also become irritated, this is called tendonitis)

How is a Haglund's deformity diagnosed?

Our podiatrists will be able to tell you if you have a Haglund's deformity. It is important to visit a podiatrist so that other conditions such as bursitis and tendonitis can be ruled out. However it is important to be aware that bursitis and tendonitis may appear alongside a Haglund's deformity.

Benefits of podiatry for Haglund's deformity

If you have a Haglund's deformity podiatry will benefit you. The following benefits can be achieved following podiatric treatment and advice:

  • Reduction in pain
  • Reduction in inflammation
  • Improvement in foot and lower limb mechanics
  • Cause treated, not just the symptoms
  • Prevention of deterioration of symptoms

What would podiatry for Haglund's deformity involve?

Our podiatrists will first obtain a thorough history from you, which would include a medical history as well as a social history (e.g. how long you have had the problem and what makes it worse or better etc.). A history is an extremely important part of the assessment as it will provide your podiatrist with valuable clues towards the diagnosis. Your podiatrist will then examine the area and provide you with any required treatment and advice. The aim of treatment for a Haglund's deformity is to reduce any pain and inflammation and prevent the deformity from worsening. Treatment for a Haglund's deformity may include:

If necessary you may be referred for a biomechanical assessment if your foot is not functioning as it should, and this is contributing to your symptoms.


A Haglund's deformity is a bony enlargement that develops at the back of the heel bone just below the ankle. A Haglund's deformity is caused by too much pressure and friction, which irritates the bone. The bone then creates more bone (an exostosis) in order to protect itself, which at the back of the heel results in a bony lump called a Haglund's deformity.

If you think you have a Haglund's deformity visit one of our podiatrists who will be able to help ease any painful symptoms experienced by the deformity, as well as provide treatment which will aim to prevent the Haglund's deformity from getting any worse.

To arrange an assessment with one our podiatrists please email or call 0330 088 4222.

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