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Washington, PA 15301
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By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
December 14, 2016
Category: Foot Conditions

Many patients have never heard of an enchondroma but it’s a condition we see fairly often at Philip S. Pinsker in younger patients, usually between 10 and 20 years old. An enchondroma is a small, benign tumor that most often forms in the small bones of the feet and hands (although they can also be found in the long bones of the upper arm or thigh too). 

Difficult to Detect

Usually, enchondromas are painless and are often found when a patient has an x-ray taken for some other reason. Scientists don’t know the exact cause of these tumors. It is thought that they may develop as a result of an overgrowth of cartilage at the ends of bones. In some cases, when an enchondroma forms in one of the small bones at the end of the toes it may feel like an ingrown toenail. If you or your child experiences this type of pain but do not see an ingrown toenail, a call to our Washington office for an examination by our board certified podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, is in order.

Potential Problems

Usually an enchondroma is not harmful and will not require treatment except for monitoring. If the tumor is big, however, and takes up a large part of a bone, it can cause the out layer of the bone to thin. This makes the bone weak and more likely to fracture. If multiple tumors form in the body, additional complications may occur:

Ollier’s Disease—many enchondromas in various parts of the body are called enchondromatosis or Ollier’s Disease. This condition can be painful and patients with Ollier’s Disease have a 30% risk of the tumors becoming cancerous. Multiple tumors can also lead to deformities in the foot and toes. In this situation, the foot doctor may recommend surgery to remove the tumors.

Maffucci’s Syndrome—this is a much more rare condition in which multiple tumors are found throughout the body and are accompanied by hemangiomas (soft tissue blood tumors associated with blood vessels).

In cases of Ollier’s Disease and Maffucci’s Syndrome, the treatment is more complex and the foot doctor would develop and manage a treatment plan best suited for your specific situation. If you have additional questions about enchondromas, please contact us at: (724) 225-7410.

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