Haglund´s deformity

Haglund’s deformity / Haglund’s disease

Haglund’s deformity is also called Haglund’s disease and named after the Swedish orthopedist Patrick Haglund. It is a small, often pointy ossification at the heel at the base of the Achilles tendon. Haglund’s disease can cause different symptoms.

Symptoms Haglund’s deformity

Haglund’s deformity can cause pain at the back of the heel increasing during strain. You may see reddening and swellings at the heel, which may be very sensitive to pressure. Because Haglund’s disease is an ossification at the base of the Achilles tendon, it can also influence the Achilles tendon. In this case, pain may emerge if the foot is raised to the shin or while squatting and then standing up (plantar flexion). Most people have problems with normal footgear because the heel of the shoe is too narrow or the top edge too low.

Symptoms of Haglund’s deformity in short:

  • pain subject to strain
  • reddening and swelling of the heel
  • heel is sensitive to pressure
  • pain while raising the foot to the shin
  • normal footgear is often not tolerated anymore

Causes Haglund’s deformity / Haglund’s disease

The Haglund’s deformity is a congenital variation of the heel. If the heel is strained, the often pointy ossification exerts pressure onto the heel and the Achilles tendon. The periosteum (membrane surrounding bones) is irritated and the Achilles tendon may be roughened or worn down. It is also possible that the bursa inflames that is between the heel and the Achilles tendon. Pressure is often also exerted by normal footgear that presses on Haglund’s deformity due to too narrow heel or too low top of the shoe. This strain is increased under strain and especially while standing up from a crouching position or raising the foot to the shin.

Diagnostics Haglund’s deformity / Haglund’s disease

In case of an assumed Haglund’s disease, a comprehensive orthopedic examination is carried out often accompanied by imaging procedures like X-raying or MRI. The existence of Haglund’s deformity can be proven by X-raying.

Therapy Haglund’s deformity / Haglund’s disease

Haglund’s deformity is often treated conservatively with orthopedic footgear that has enough space for the deformity, often also in combination with orthopedic arch support and physiotherapy. As a consequence, the irritations of the heel reduce and the inflammation of the bursa between heel and Achilles tendon decrease. If Haglund’s disease causes chronic symptoms that cannot sufficiently be treated by conservative means,surgery may be indicated.


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