Tumors of the foot and ankle: experience with 153 cases

Foot Ankle Int. 2009 Sep;30(9):836-41. doi: 10.3113/FAI.2009.0836.


Background: Both primary and metastatic tumors in the foot and ankle have been reported as rare. The purpose of this study was to describe 153 cases of foot and ankle tumors from a 20-year experience in a tertiary referral center specializing in orthopaedic oncology. It is the largest reported series of both bone and soft tissue tumors in the foot and ankle.

Materials and methods: Between 1986 and 2006, a retrospective chart review was performed of a total of 2,660 tumors surgically treated in all anatomic sites by a single surgeon at a musculoskeletal tumor referral center.

Results: One hundred fifty-three patients (5.75%) with bone and/or soft tissue tumors of the foot and ankle were treated. There were 84 women and 69 men. The patients' ages ranged from 1 to 84, with a median age of 30 and mean of 33.2. The tissue types included 80 soft tissue and 73 bone tumors. Overall, 60 (39.2%) were malignant, and 93 (60.8%) were benign. The most common diagnosis was giant cell tumor. In addition, giant cell tumor was the most common bone tumor, while pigmented villonodular synovitis and giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath were the most common soft tissue tumors.

Conclusion: The incidence of tumors of the foot and ankle in this series of a single surgeon over a 20-year practice was 5.75%. The results of this study reaffirm that awareness, correctly diagnosing, and appropriately treating or referring to an orthopaedic oncologist may help with an improved outcome for patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ankle*
  • Bone Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Foot Bones*
  • Foot Diseases*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult