Haglund's Deformity - Retrocalcaneal Exostosis

Haglund's Deformity - Retrocalcaneal Exostosis

Haglund’s Deformity is an irregularity of the bone and soft tissues in the foot. An expansion of the bony part of the heel causes this disorder. The soft tissue around the back of the heel will usually become irritated when the big, bony bump brushes up against stiff shoes. This condition is often characterized by growing pain, swelling and redness in the back of the heel. Haglund’s Deformity, also known as retrocalcaneal exostosis, is actually quite common. When a person has this condition, a visible bump will appear on the back of their heel. Any shoes with a rigid back, such as ice skates, men’s dress shoes or women’s pumps, can cause this irritation. People with flat arched feet or who walk on the outside of their heels are going to be more prone to end up with this deformity.


There are multiple ways to go about treating Haglund’s Deformity before surgery is needed. In less severe cases, an anti-inflammatory will be prescribed along with instruction to apply ice to the affected area for a certain period. In addition, your doctor may recommend performing certain exercises regularly to help stretch and release tension from the Achilles tendon. The doctor also could possibly recommend some combination of heel pads or lifts, shoe modifications, orthotic devices or even wearing a cast.

A need for surgery is rare but does exist. If this is the case for you your foot/ankle surgeon will decide exactly what type of procedure is best for you.

Retrocalcaneal Exostosis Foot

Haglund's Deformity is a type of retrocalcaneal exostosis foot issue, referring specifically to the location on the foot; however exostosis can occur on other areas where poorly fitting shoes cause friction. It's very common to develop bone deformities on the bottom of the foot and at the base of the big toe because these areas are also subject to a lot of friction.


Preventing Haglund’s Deformity from occurring or reoccurring is fairly easy and manageable. The first and most obvious method of prevention is to wear properly fitting footwear – avoid shoes with a stiff heel back. Another method of prevention is to use of arch supports in your shoes and sneakers. Finally, be sure to try to avoid running for a while but definitely avoid running on hard surfaces and/or uphill.