A rare and unusual case of plasma cell dyscrasia of the calcaneus is presented. Clinically, the patient had a draining and painful ulcer that was treated with appropriate antibiotics and wound care but failed to show any signs of healing. Radiographic images showed cystic changes of the calcaneus in the vicinity of the ulcer. Blood work was negative for bone and soft-tissue infection, but uric acid and alkaline phosphatase levels were elevated. Nuclear bone scan showed increased uptake in the calcaneus suggestive of osteomyelitis. One possible differential diagnosis was an intraosseous gouty tophus deposit. Not convinced that this was either a bone infection or gout, the author performed a bone biopsy. Pathologic evaluation indicated plasma cell dyscrasia. Continued wound care healed the ulcer completely, with resolution of pain of his heel. Oncology/hematology was consulted, and 16 months after biopsy, he remains asymptomatic.
Digital gangrene is frequently encountered in patients who have diabetes with peripheral vascular compromise, with or without superimposed infection. Preoperative laboratory values and radiographic images are important to determine a proper course of action. Equally important is a thorough history taking to confirm or rule out systemic entities and preexisting conditions that can aggravate or predispose one to the development of digital gangrene. A patient with diabetes presented with a rare and unusual case of digital gangrene, as he clinically had strong pedal pulses. Preoperative workup revealed a suspicion of polycythemia, which was subsequently confirmed. The patient underwent several days of phlebotomy until his hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were brought down to optimized levels before a digital amputation was performed. He went on to heal uneventfully, and he is currently being closely followed by oncology/hematology colleagues with periodic phlebotomy.