Can We Measure the Heel Bump? Radiographic Evaluation of Haglund's Deformity

Published:August 29, 2014DOI:


      Haglund's deformity is a symptomatic posterosuperior deformity of the heel. The lateral radiograph of the ankle will show a prominent, large, posterosuperior part of the calcaneus, which can be measured using the Fowler and Philips angle (FPA, the angle between the posterior and plantar surface of the calcaneus) and the calcaneal pitch angle (CPA, the angle between the sole of the foot and the plantar part of the calcaneus). Although these angles are commonly used, these radiographic angle measurements have never shown a relationship with Haglund's deformity. In 78 patients (51% male) with symptomatic Haglund's deformity and a control group of 100 patients (41% male) with no heel complaints, we measured the FPA and CPA on weightbearing lateral radiographs of the foot. Using an unpaired t tests, no significant difference was found between the 2 groups in the FPA (p = .40). We measured a significant difference in the CPA between the Haglund group and the control group (p = .014). Subgroup analysis showed that this difference was mainly found in females (p < .00), with no significant difference seen in the males (p < .48). Females with Haglund's deformity will have a greater CPA than will females without Haglund's deformity. The CPA showed a difference between the Haglund and non-Haglund groups, although mainly in females. Although the evidence from our study is limited, it would be interesting to study the CPA further, because it implicates the verticalization of the calcaneus. This change in position results in extra traction on the Achilles tendon and can eventually cause tendinitis and bursitis. Radiographic measurement should be used as an auxiliary tool. If the calcaneus tends to change position, it would be interesting to understand this process, which could eventually lead to improvement in the treatment of Haglund's deformity.

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