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Haglund’s Deformity and Bursitis

Haglund’s deformity can cause the soft tissue surrounding the Achilles tendon to become highly irritated because the enlargement scrapes against shoes. This scraping usually leads to the development of an inflamed bursa, which is known as “bursitis”. The bursa is located between the bone and the tendon, which means that it can be very painful when you start suffering from such a condition. The development of bursitis on your foot commonly causes the enlargement to worsen and become even bigger, which generally creates more pain. Knowing more about the details of Haglund’s deformity and what causes the problem may assist you in preventing it from occurring in the first place.

How Haglund’s Deformity is Treated

Surgical Options

If the non-surgical treatments aren’t working like they should, you could consider surgery to get rid of the bony protrusion altogether. Most of these surgeries will remove a portion of the heel bone to ensure that no aspect of it is protruding. The least invasive surgery that’s used for treating Haglund’s deformity is the ankle arthroscopy procedure, which uses very small incisions throughout the treatment.

Non-Surgical Options

Most treatments for Haglund’s deformity focus on reducing the pain and inflammation that occur when you’ve developed bursitis, which means that the actual bony protrusion can’t be treated with non-surgical options. Heel lifts, heel pads, stretching exercises, and physical therapy are the first treatments that are considered for this deformity.

Causes of Haglund’s Deformity

There’s no apparent cause for Haglund’s deformity. There are, however, a variety of factors that can heighten the chance of someone developing this condition. If your heel bone slopes outward or your Achilles tendons are tighter than normal, you may be more likely to develop this condition. High arches can also be a factor in why an individual suffers from Haglund’s deformity. A high placement of your arches means that your heel is pushed slightly backwards while you walk, which could cause the Achilles tendon to rub against your shoe.

If you notice that your feet are shaped like any of the examples mentioned above, there are several types of shoes that you should avoid. Wearing certain shoes with these foot types can increase the likelihood that you will suffer from Haglund’s deformity. The shoes that you should avoid wearing on a regular basis include:

  • Ice skates
  • Stiff dress shoes
  • Work boots with a steel toe
  • Rain boots or winter boots that are made with a tight construction
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The symptoms that you’ll experience with Haglund’s deformity largely depend on how severe the condition is. Most of the symptoms can range from mild to severe and can worsen without treatment (which is why it’s important to obtain treatment as soon as you notice the symptoms). There will be a very visible bump located on the back of your heel. The presence of this bump usually causes high amounts of pain when walking, redness, and swelling around the heel, and blisters in the area whenever your shoe scrapes against the bump. The distinct nature of these symptoms usually allows a doctor to diagnose the condition with a visual examination of the foot.

Can Haglund’s Deformity be Prevented?

Although Haglund’s deformity doesn’t cause a large number of complications, the pain and loss of motion that occur with this condition make it frustrating to deal with — which is why you’ll likely want to know how to prevent this abnormality from reoccurring. 

For one, it’s important that you wear the right shoes. This means that you should avoid shoes that come with a rigid and stiff heel. You should also consider using orthotic devices and arch supports to provide a better shape to the foot. Since a tightening of the Achilles tendon can be a factor in the development of this condition, make sure that you perform various stretching exercises on a regular basis. Lastly, it’s important that you minimize running uphill or on hard surfaces.

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Treating Haglund’s Deformity at Foot & Ankle Specialty Group

Whether you need an in-office treatment or surgery, our foot and ankle experts at Foot & Ankle Specialty Group have you covered.

Dr. Salma Aziz has built her reputation on time-tested practices and spends a lot of quality time with her patients to go over each and every concern. 

She is extraordinarily good at what she does, and has been a staple in her community since 2001. Now joined by Dr. Petrina Yokay and Dr. Jessica Arneson, our team is able to offer even more specialties and techniques. Our practice is about getting people back to activity, and we are happy to provide services for individuals, families, and athletes of all ages. 

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