5 Ways to Treat Haglund's Syndrome

Haglund's Syndrome vs. Haglund's Deformity

Haglund's syndrome is an inflammatory condition that could affect the area around your heel, where a small fluid-filled sac, called a bursa, allows the Achilles' tendon to slide smoothly over the bony ridge of your calcaneus (heel bone). When both the bursa and the tendon are inflamed, causing calcification to your heel bone, you could end up with a bony prominence called Haglund's deformity.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Start the PRICE Plan

Haglund's syndrome starts with inflammation, so you'll feel stiffness or pain near the top of your heel bone in the back, especially in the mornings. As with most inflammatory processes of the soft tissues, if you treat it early, Haglund's syndrome can easily be managed. Start with the PRICE plan: Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Stop the activity that's causing pain and swelling, prop the affected foot on pillows to give it a rest, put an ice pack on it for 15 to 20 minutes several times each day, and wrap the heel area with a compression bandage. Be sure not to wrap it so tightly that you feel a prickly sensation, as that means you've reduced the blood flow. You'll want to take an anti-inflammatory agent, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, too.

Try Different Shoes

The bursa on your heel can become irritated by constant rubbing or pressure of your shoe. It's a common complaint, especially for women who wear high heels frequently. Your Achilles' tendon may also be affected, either by the rubbing itself or through its functional position. Try different shoes that don't rub against the back of your heel.

Get Moving Again

Runners are especially prone to Achilles' tendinitis through overuse or overstretching the tendon. Once you are out of an acute inflammatory phase for either bursitis or Achilles' tendinitis, try wearing a heel pad or other orthotic device in your running shoes for a while to reduce the strain on the Achilles' tendon, or try taping the area.

Surgery or Steroid Injections

If you already have Haglund's deformity, which is also known as the "pump bump," you may need surgery. If you do have surgery, your foot will be immobilized for a period of time afterward.

Cortisone injections to relieve the inflammation in the bursa or tendon are somewhat controversial, as they have been known to lead to rupture of the Achilles' tendon. However, a newer practice of using ultrasound to guide the injection may result in fewer drawbacks to this type of treatment. Early, aggressive treatment of inflammation around your heel bone may prevent Haglund's deformity and help keep you out of the surgical suite.