While extremely rare, tumors of the heel can definitely occur and must be considererd as a possibility of one's heel pain. The three most common type of tumors in the heel are:
- Intraosseous Lipoma
- Osteoid Osteoma
- Unicameral Bone Cyst
All three of these tumors are benign. There are cases of malignant bone tumors in the heel, but the incidence is even rarer than the benign ones.
These tumors are diagnosed radiographically. Once visible on x-rays, a CT scan is then needed to get an exact measurement of the tumor.
As you can see, there is a hole in the heel bone. This tumor is made up of fat tissue. Males are more affected than females and this tumor can occur in individuals from ages 5 to 85. Treatment is via surgical excision and using bone graft to fill the void.
In this benign tumor, you can see a central hardened bone surrounded by soft bone. This tumor affects males twice the times as it does females. It is most common in children and young adults between the ages of 10-19. The pain from the tumor is relieved with aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Pain is usually worse at night. Pain usually is gone after 2.5 years. If the pain is not manageable or if the patient can continue to endure the pain, then surgical excision can be performed.
Unicameral Bone Cyst
This is a fluid filled cyst that is found in children. As you can see, this cyst is located near the edge of the heel bone. This makes the bone prone to fracture. Due to this, this cyst is removed and packed with bone graft.
None of these tumors are life threatening, but they can cause failure fractures and severe pain in some patients. An x-ray is always medically necessary in heel pain patients to rule out a tumor!