Heterotopic ossification is the formation of bone in the soft tissues. Soft tissue bone deposition may range from the minimal and inconsequential to massive and clinically significant. In some clinical settings it is a predictable finding with an unpredictable course and in other settings it may be diagnostically confounding. Heterotopic ossification may be encountered in clinically disparate disease processes and circumstances. We review the genetic, neurogenic, post-traumatic, post-surgical and "reactive" causes of heterotopic ossification and discuss some current concepts of its pathogenesis.