Best Exercises for Haglund’s Deformity

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on March 10, 2023
3 min read

Haglund’s deformity, sometimes known as “pump bump,” is a common condition where a small bony bump forms at the back of the heel near the Achilles tendon. This can make activities like running, walking, and even simply wearing some types of shoes painful. There are several stretches and exercises that can help relieve the pain caused by Haglund’s deformity. 

Most exercises and stretches for Haglund’s deformity focus on relieving stress on the Achilles tendon. This tendon is most often the tissue that the Haglund’s bump is irritating. By stretching your Achilles tendon, you can reduce how tightly it is pressed against the bump and as a result reduce pain. Exercises to Help Haglund’s Deformity

1. Standing Heel Raises

This exercise helps strengthen your calves as well as stretching your Achilles tendon. 

Step 1: Standing on a flat or slightly raised surface, balance your weight on the balls of your feet.

Step 2: Carefully raise yourself up onto your toes and hold a “tip-toe” position for several seconds, then lower yourself back onto the ground.

You can repeat this up to 25 times per day as long as you are not feeling pain. Make sure you’re raising and lowering yourself slowly, because the controlled motion is the point of the exercise.

2. Calf Stretches

Stretching your Achilles tendon helps reduce pressure on tender parts of your ankle near the Haglund’s bump.

Step 1: Stand slightly further than arm’s length away from a wall. Lean forward, and place your hands on the wall. 

Step 2: Leave one foot where it was, and step the other foot forward. Lower both heels to the ground while keeping your back leg straight. Lean forward further until you feel a gentle stretch in your back foot.

Step 3: Hold the stretch for thirty seconds, then swap sides.

You can repeat this process five or six times a day. If you need to, you can bend your back knee. Keeping your heel on the floor is more important than keeping your leg straight, as long as you feel the stretch in the back of your calf. 

3. Towel Stretches

This stretch offers a deeper flex of the Achilles tendon. 

Step 1: Sit on the ground with both legs stretched out in front of you. 

Step 2: Take a towel or an exercise band and loop it around one foot, holding one end in either hand.

Step 3: Gently pull back on the towel to pull the ball of your foot towards your body. You should feel a gentle stretch in the back of your calf. Hold for thirty seconds, the swap sides.

You can repeat this exercise five or six times daily.

4. Heel Drops

Heel drops help you develop control over the calf muscle and stretch of the Achilles tendon.

Step 1: Stand on a step and place one hand on the stair railing. Slide backwards so your heels and the middle of your foot are off the step and your weight is on the balls of your feet.

Step 2: Lift one leg into the air, then use the other leg to raise yourself up into “tip-toe” position.

Step 3: While up on your toes, switch legs. Lower yourself back into a flat-footed position by dropping your heel.

Step 4: Repeat the process but switch legs.

You can repeat this fifteen times per set, for three sets per day.

5. Towel Scrunches

This exercise helps increase general foot dexterity and reduce tightness in the Achilles tendon. 

Step 1: Place a towel flat on the ground in front of a chair, then sit down in the chair with your heels on the edge of the towel. 

Step 2: With one foot, reach out and use your toes to grab the towel, then pull the towel toward you under your feet. 

Step 3: Repeat until you run out of towel, then repeat the whole exercise with your other foot. 

You can do this three times daily.

Haglund’s deformity can sometimes lead to problems like bursitis and tendinitis if ignored. When doing exercises for this condition, pay attention to your symptoms. If you notice soreness or tightness in your ankle or heel that seems to be getting worse, you may be hurting yourself. Stop the exercises immediately and reach out to your physician for advice. You may need to take things slowly for a while as your feet heal.