Enchondroma: An Extra Bone Bulge
Sometimes, tissues in your body develop extra growths. These lesions can be cancerous or benign, fast-growing or slow, and even painful or harmless. However they affect you, they are usually monitored to make sure they don’t become problematic later on. One of the most common lumps that appears in the lower limbs is an enchondroma.
Finding Odd Growths
This common, benign bone tumor frequently develops in the small bones of your feet. The nodule usually grows out of cartilage along a growth plate. It first develops in childhood or adolescence and continues growing with the rest of your skeleton. When you finish growing, the mass stops increasing as well. Normally you just have one tumor at a time, however some uncommon conditions, like Ollier’s disease and Maffucci’s syndrome, may cause more to develop. Very rarely does the lesion change into cancer of any kind.
No one is sure what causes this tumor in the first place, but it is considered mostly harmless. Usually it doesn’t even display symptoms, and the spot is discovered by accident when you have X-rays for other issues. If the growth is in the wrong place, though, it may deform your foot or cause painful problems. Symptomatic enchondromas will need to be treated to prevent complications from arising.
Where the enchondroma appears in your foot can determine if it causes pain or not. If the bulge deforms the normal shape of the limb, you may struggle to find comfortable shoes. You may be more prone to developing corns or sores around the bump as well. The growth can weaken the bones in your feet, too, increasing your risks for issues like fractures.
Managing the Lesion
Since it is usually a benign growth, it rarely needs to be treated. If a nodule is discovered, our team at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic may keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t deteriorate into cancer. Aside from that, a painless growth is usually left alone. A lesion that causes pain, however, will be evaluated more carefully. Dr. Darren Silvester will use X-rays to check for fractures or other issues—like pinched soft tissues—that could cause the discomfort. Then our staff will help you begin the appropriate treatment.
Typically we begin by resolving the damage—like a fracture—and then look into eliminating the tumor. A broken bone will need to be immobilized until it heals. After that, we may recommend surgery to remove the growth and fill in the area with a bone graft to prevent enchondroma-related fractures in the future. You may need to adjust your shoes to reduce friction against the bump. Sometimes padding the painful area may help as well.
These benign growths usually don’t cause problems for your feet, but you shouldn’t ignore odd bumps or lumps, much less persistent pain. Monitoring a nodule like this can help prevent more serious problems in the future. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, know if you have any issues with your lower limbs. You can call (210) 375-3318 or use our online request form to make an appointment with us.