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Haglund's Syndrome, a Common Running Injury That Causes Heel Pain, Can Often be Treated With Minimal Downtime

Often mistaken for tendonitis or inflammatory arthritis, a proper diagnosis is essential to treatment

New York, NY—April 11, 2006

Spring is here and runners, tennis players, golfers, roller bladers and other fitness fanatics will be out in full force. Unfortunately, many will likely experience aches and pains from too much activity or improper equipment.

One condition that many runners seek treatment for is associated with a painful bump on the back of the heel, caused by the back of the shoe consistently rubbing against the heel. Often mistaken for tendonitis, superficial irritation or inflammatory arthritis, the proper diagnosis of this condition, Haglund’s syndrome, is essential in order to ensure that patients receive the appropriate treatment.

Radiologist Ronald S. Adler, Ph.D., M.D., chief, Division of Ultrasound and Body CT, and colleagues at Hospital for Special Surgery, in New York City, described in a study published in the February issue of the HSS Journal how they have used ultrasound technology to both accurately diagnose and potentially relieve the associated pain of Haglund’s syndrome. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, Dr. Adler and his team use ultrasound to guide an injection of medication directly into the affected area, thus prolonging and, in some cases, eliminating the need for surgery.

"Patients often feel better from the anesthetic, which usually lasts several hours," said Dr. Adler. "A more prolonged response usually begins two to three days following the injection, once the steroids kick in. An ultrasound-guided injection allows us to directly target the painful area or bursa, thereby avoiding an injection into the tendon. This is the real advantage of ultrasound, since blind injections into the tendon can further weaken it, predisposing the tendon to rupture."

A surgical option may also have been considered requiring longer rehabilitation, with several months of restricted activity (i.e., no running).

“Using ultrasound technology as a diagnostic and minimally invasive treatment for Haglund’s syndrome, many individuals can get pain relief without having to undergo surgery,” he said. “Ultrasound is a nonsurgical outpatient procedure that does not require sedation and, when used in conjunction with modifications in footwear and activity, is an appropriate initial treatment for relief of the pain associated with this condition.”

For more information on the Hospital for Special Surgery Department of Radiology and Imaging, visit http://imaging.hss.edu/.

About Hospital for Special Surgery Department of Radiology and Imaging
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Department of Radiology and Imaging, under the direction of Radiologist-in-Chief Helene Pavlov, M.D., FACR, has the largest and most experienced academic musculoskeletal radiology faculty in the world, each with academic appointments at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. The department's focus is on both the imaging diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions/diseases and the treatment of specific conditions utilizing image guidance. More than 180,000 musculoskeletal examinations are performed annually, including: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), ultrasound (US) and nuclear medicine (NM) in addition to conventional radiography (X-ray). The department also offers teleradiology services. All HSS radiologists are Board Certified by the American College of Radiology and have received numerous awards by honor and professional societies, including the Consumer's Research Council of America Guide to America's Top Radiologists.

 

About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the eighth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2017-2018). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic on musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.

 

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