Unicameral Bone Cyst of the Calcaneus in Children

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The calcaneus is an uncommon site for a unicameral bone cyst. However, because of the concentration of forces through the heel, such cysts are usually symptomatic and require treatment. Because of the lack of attention paid to calcaneal unicameral bone cysts, as well as the controversy concerning their appropriate treatment and ultimate outcome, a retrospective study of our experience was undertaken. Over a 15-year period, we treated six children with calcaneal unicameral bone cysts. The diagnosis was confirmed pathologically at the time of treatment for all six. The most common presenting complaint was heel pain upon weight-bearing, secondary to microfracturing of the cyst. Although conservative treatment, which entailed casting and sponge fillers in the shoes, was attempted for most patients, none responded to this form of management. One child had three separate injections of methylprednisolone acetate without any radiographic or clinical change in the cyst, which ultimately required curettage and bone grafting. Bone grafting with either autogenous or allograft bone was successful in eradicating the cyst in all six patients, with no symptoms of recurrence at an average follow-up of 4 years. No resultant treatment complications were encountered. Unicameral bone cysts of the calcaneus, when symptomatic, respond well to curettage and bone grafting, and this type of treatment is recommended.

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