Haglunds deformity is a painful condition that occurs at the back of the heel bone (calcaneus) when wearing footwear. This condition also gets called a ‘pump bump’ as it is more common in that type of footwear. It can also be called ‘winter heel’ as it is more common in the winter when shoes are worn more often. Ice hockey players can call it a ‘Bauer Bump’. Medically it is called a ‘retrocalcaneal bursitis’.
There is a lot of variability between people in the shape of the back top part of the heel bone and some are larger than others. This is quite a normal variability, but it becomes a problem when the larger ones are put into a shoe that has a rigid heel counter then that pressure is going to become painful. That pressure is going to result in a painful bursitis.
Self-Treatment for Haglunds Deformity
The key to dealing with a Haglunds problem is getting rid of the pressure that is causing the problem. The easiest way is to either stop wearing shoes or wearing shoes that have no heel counter to put pressure on the bony prominence. As effective as that may be its not always that practical as we do have to wear shoes in many circumstances.
With regards to shoes, look for and wear shoes that have a flexible heel counter as they will put less pressure on the Haglund’s bump. For runners, there are a lot of running shoes now available that have quite a flimsy heel counter that would be good for this.
When you need to wear shoes, there are several ways in which to get pressure off the painful area. One way is to cut a pad out of the adhesive podiatry felt that is shaped like a ‘U’ or ‘horsehoe’. The 10mm thick is probably better than the 6mm felt, but needs sharper scissors to cut it. The pad can be stuck on the foot and kept in place with tape or it could be stuck in the inside on the shoe. The idea of the felt pad is to get pressure off the painful area:
Another way to protect a Haglund’s deformity is to use a silicone gel protector pad. This is a sock like sleeve that has a thin layer of silicon gel built into as the back to the heel. This protects and cushions the painful area and reduces friction:
Other Treatments for Haglunds Deformity
If the self help treatments are not helping, then you may want to get professional help where there are additional options:
- Getting better advice on the type and kinds of shoes that are most suitable for this
- Cortisone shots into the inflamed bursa may be needed to help settle it down
- More sophisticated and permanent padding options may be used and glued into the inside of the heel counter of the shoe
- If all this is not helpful, there is the surgical option of having the inflamed bursa and the prominent piece of bone removed.