How Does Haglund's Deformity Cause Heel Problems?
You’re likely to experience frequent pain if the bump on your heel regularly rubs up against the back of your shoe during repetitive motions such as running or hiking. It may eventually lead to other problems such as irritation and inflammation where the bump presses against the Achilles tendon. Common symptoms associated with Haglund’s deformity include:
- Feeling pain while moving, waking, or running
- Swelling of the heel and ankle
- Developing bursitis because the sack of fluid between the Achilles tendon and the nearby bone becomes inflamed due to irritation
- Experiencing redness and tenderness near the inflamed area
These symptoms are often made worse by your footwear. Any kind of specialty shoe that is flat in the back near the heel, dress shoes or high heels, and special sportswear like ice skates will often create friction against the bump that protrudes.
Tightness in your Achilles tendon can also make the condition significantly worse, and having an irregular foot shape such as a high-arched foot may also put you at increased risk for developing Haglund’s deformity.
Is Surgery the Only Solution for Haglund’s Deformity?
There are a variety of options to pursue for reducing your foot pain and reducing the associated swelling of Haglund’s deformity. These options are more conservative and less invasive than surgery. Depending on your specific foot shape and overall symptoms, some of those non-surgical options for Haglund’s deformity might include:
- Adding heel pads to your existing shoes to reduce friction while walking or exercising
- Taking medication to reduce inflammation in the heel and address the pain
- Stretching exercises to prevent the tension and rubbing that may lead to foot pain
- Using more comfortable footwear such as diabetic shoes and socks to prevent the bump from becoming irritated and painful while you are on your feet
- Wearing customized orthotics specifically built around your foot shape
In many cases, these are simply stop-gap measures to deal with the symptoms of Haglund’s deformity. Because the protruding bone can still cause problems in the future, surgery is often the best option overall because it deals with the root cause of the discomfort rather than just addressing the symptoms. Surgery provides a more permanent solution.
When performed by a skilled professional, surgery to remove the excess bone is typically an outpatient procedure. Following surgery, you will likely spend a few weeks using a splint to keep weight off the affected area until it has healed. In some instances, you may also need to wear a heel lift to slowly put more weight on the foot over time until you are ready for regular activity again.