Finding Lumps and Bumps: What Are Osteochondromas?

For kids—both the young and the young at heart—the summer season is a chance to get outdoors and be active. Playing hard and running around frequently ends up with lumps, bumps, and bruises. It’s a part of growing up and staying active. Not all bumps are from injuries, however. Some people discover hard lumps developing over time and find they have osteochondromas. This isn’t as common as a bruised toe, so many people end up asking: what are osteochondromas, anyway?

Osteochondromas are benign bone tumors. They typically grow during childhood or adolescence. Usually the lump begins along a growth plate, then continues to develop as you grow. The lumps stop increasing and harden when you’re done growing. This results in a small, hard bump near a joint that you may or may not be able to feel from the outside. Many of these tumors have no symptoms, and are actually discovered by accident.

Osteochondromas that do display symptoms need active care. Sometimes the bump can rub against tendons, causing pain and possibly leading to tendinitis. If the growth is near a nerve, it could potentially pinch the sensitive tissue and cause numbness and discomfort. Occasionally an injury will cause the stalk of the protrusion to break, causing the same sharp pain as a regular fracture.

Since these tumors are largely harmless, they aren’t usually treated unless they cause problems with symptoms. Most the growths will simply be monitored to make sure they do not degenerate into cancer tissue. If they present problems for your lower limbs, however, it may be time to consider surgery to eliminate the lesion.

Though they sound frightening, anyone wondering “what are osteochondromas?” should be able to relax in peace. These small bumps may not cause problems for your lower limbs—and if they do, they can be addressed. However, don’t take any unusual lumps on your feet for granted. Let Sierra Foot & Ankle in Gardnerville, NV, know if you notice any changes or bumps on your lower limbs. You can call (775) 783-8037 or use our online contact form to reach us.

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