, Volume 471, Issue 3, pp 871-877
Date: 25 Sep 2012

Primary Osseous Tumors of the Hindfoot: Why the Delay in Diagnosis and Should We Be Concerned?

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Topic
Tumor

Abstract

Background

Bony tumors of the foot account for approximately 3% of all osseous tumors. Diagnosis is frequently delayed as a result of lack of clinician familiarity and as a result of their rarity. The reasons for the delays, however, are unclear.

Questions/purposes

We therefore determined (1) how hindfoot tumors present and the specific reasons for delay in diagnosis; (2) whether the spectrum of disease varies between the talus and calcaneus; and (3) how these patients were treated.

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the medical notes and imaging for all patients with 34 calcaneal and 23 talar tumors recorded in the Scottish Bone Tumour Registry. Demographics, presentation, investigation, histology, management, recurrence, and mortality were recorded.

Results

Hindfoot tumors present with pain and often swelling around the heel (calcaneus) or ankle (talus), most often misdiagnosed as soft tissue injury. Calcaneal lesions were more likely to be malignant than talar lesions: 13 of 34 versus three of 23.

Conclusions

Clinicians should be aware that hindfoot tumors can be initially misdiagnosed as soft tissue injuries and suspicion of a tumor should be raised in the absence of trauma or persistent symptoms. Lesions affecting the calcaneus are more likely to be malignant. Early diagnosis and adjuvant therapy are important.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Each author certifies that he or she, or a member of their immediate family, has no commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the registry was obtained.
This work was performed at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.