“No bones about it,” enchondroma is a condition that should be closely monitored, and requires immediate treatment if it’s causing you pain. Luckily, most cases of this typically noncancerous tumor are painless, and simply require an X-ray every now and then. Still, it’s important to learn more about your condition so that you can keep your eye on it, and seek early treatment if it’s giving you discomfort.
Weakened, Deformed Bones
Echondroma is usually a noncancerous cartilage tumor located inside the bone. It occurs in the smaller bones in the feet, particularly the ones at the end of the toe and the metatarsal bones. The condition is problematic because it can often disfigure and weaken a large part of the smaller bones in the foot, causing them to break. Sometimes multiple tumors are present. This is known as Maffucci’s syndrome, or Ollier’s disease.
Little is known about the reason for these growths. It doesn’t seem to be caused by a person’s specific lifestyle, exposure to radiation, or chemicals. It grows when you’re small and sticks with you when you get older, affecting both males and females with no real distinction. Most are found in your body when you’re 10 or 20 years old, but some may never grow or can even disappear over time. Often times, this condition is found during an X-ray for another injury or condition.
Feeling Pain? See Harvey R. Danciger, DPM
In most cases, the condition is painless. Enchondroma weakens the bone, though, which could make it more susceptible to painful fractures. You may also experience pain if the tumor becomes cancerous, so if you’re feeling pain, it is vital that you see us as soon as you can, so we can determine the cause. Very rarely do these tumors become cancerous. This occurs more often, albeit still rarely, when multiple tumors are present and bones are severely deformed, such as with Ollier’s disease or Maffucci’s syndrome. In such a case, an X-ray will need to be taken to rule out a possible malignant growth.
It’s also important to determine what kind of pain you’re having. Prolonged pain at night and pain during rest are the most concerning. Pain following activity is more normal and is likely not serious.
Monitoring and Surgery
If you have an enchondroma, we’ll need to monitor its growth to make sure it doesn’t turn into a malignant case. Surgical treatment of a malignant type involves scraping out the bone and filling in the area with bone graft. Most of the tumors don’t return. It’s important that you seek treatment immediately to lessen the chances that larger portions of your bone will need to be removed.
The bottom line? If you have enchondroma, in most cases there is nothing to worry about, but it’s best to keep a close eye on it. You’re in good hands with Harvey R. Danciger, DPM. To schedule an appointment, call our Palm Desert office at (760) 568-0108. You can also learn more on our Facebook and Pinterest pages.
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