Doctor Examining a Patient's FootIt's not uncommon for patients to develop tumors in the feet. Tumors on the nerves, bones, and tissues of the feet are usually non-cancerous and do not cause symptoms. In fact, many people are unaware of them until they show up on an x-ray for an unrelated condition.

What Are Enchondromas?

Enchondroma is a type of benign tumor caused by a buildup of cartilage inside a bone. Although enchondromas can occur anywhere in the foot, podiatry patients typically suffer them in the bone beneath the toenail. If an x-ray shows a small, darkened area in the bone ringed by white strands (cartilage), it may indicate enchondroma.

Most enchondromas do not require foot surgery, only observation to monitor their growth. However, there are some cases where podiatrists may recommend removal, such as:

  • Multiple tumors. The majority of enchondromas are solitary tumors. However, some conditions such as Ollier's disease or Maffucci's syndrome can cause the growth of multiple tumors that weaken the bone or cause it to fracture. When this occurs, surgery may be needed to remove the tumor(s), repair the broken bone, or prevent additional fractures.
  • Malignant tumors. Some enchondromas may become cancerous, developing into malignant cartilage tumors called chondrosarcoma. It may take a number of tests (including a biopsy) and a thorough examination to confirm whether your tumor is an enchondroma or a more aggressive or cancerous tumor. 
  • Bone erosion. If the tumor is causing a lot of pain, you may need a bone scan to show the condition of the tissues surrounding the tumor. If the tumor has caused inflammation or a wearing away of the bone, surgery may be required to prevent further damage.

If you are suffering pain in your feet or toes, the podiatry specialists at Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry can help. We create personalized treatment plans for every patient, finding the most effective ways to get you back to normal as soon as possible. Simply fill out our online contact form or call us at (301) 515-FEET to set up your free initial consultation.