Enchondromas develop in the bone underneath the toenail and are small, benign growths composed of cartilage. The tumors are composed of cartilage that forms in the bone and are usually painless, which is why they often go undiagnosed unless they are revealed during X-rays or screenings done for other diagnoses. Enchondromas that form at the end of the toe feel similar to the pain of an ingrown toenail.
Enchondromas are the most commonly occurring bone tumors of the hands and feet. Enchondromatosis, or Ollier’s Disease, involves the growth of multiple enchondromas in the phalanges and metatarsals, or the small and long bones in the hands and feet. In the case of Maffucci’s Syndrome, enchondromas form benign soft tissue tumors, or hemangiomas, anywhere in the body. Hemangiomas involve the blood vessels and are more prone to becoming malignant than the enchondromas of Ollier’s Disease.
Enchondromas can be present in large areas of the bones, which thins the bone’s cortex, making it susceptible to breaks. Enchondromas usually require no treatment; however, if they grow enough to destroy bone tissue, they can be treated or surgically removed.