We present the case of a 51-year-old immunocompetent man with refractory heel pain who initially had been treated for plantar fasciitis. However, the pain was proven to be caused by a Mycobacterium abscessus infection of the calcaneus. The process of diagnosis and treatment is described.
Although rare, chronic heel pain can be caused by an atypical mycobacterial infection of the calcaneus. Because of its indolent clinical course, misdiagnosis is not uncommon with calcaneal osteomyelitis. Physicians should note that this rare infection should be considered in patients with refractory heel pain.