Percutaneous drilling for chronic heel pain

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2003 Sep-Oct;42(5):296-301. doi: 10.1016/j.jfas.2003.08.002.


The authors report a retrospective study involving 25 feet in 21 patients who underwent percutaneous drilling for chronic heel pain. Patients with increased activity of the heel were considered for surgical treatment if there was increased uptake on the delayed bone scans. The average follow-up was 21 months (range, 6 to 30 months). All patients were treated in day surgery with local anesthesia. Three small holes were bored in the medial cortex of the calcaneus. Clinical evaluation of the parameters of pain, walking distance, fascial tenderness, paresthesias, and ankle and subtalar joint motion were evaluated preoperatively and at final follow-up. In 7 patients, repeat bone scans were performed and 6 patients had resolution of the abnormal uptake. In 81% of feet treated, there was a favorable outcome based on a subjective scoring scale. Using a visual analog pain scale, the preoperative pain level was 8.8 (range, 4 to 10), and at latest follow-up, it was 2.4 (range, 0 to 10). These results are comparable to other available surgical methods for the treatment of recalcitrant heel pain. Less predictable results were seen in patients with rheumatic and systemic pathologies and in those diagnosed with Haglund deformity. This technique appears to be effective in the relief of intraosseous congestion and bone-marrow edema.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Marrow Diseases / complications
  • Bone Marrow Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Marrow Diseases / surgery
  • Calcaneus / surgery*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods*
  • Edema / complications
  • Edema / diagnostic imaging
  • Edema / surgery
  • Female
  • Heel / diagnostic imaging
  • Heel / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / diagnostic imaging
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / surgery*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Retrospective Studies