Chondroma is a tumor that develops from cartilage tissue and usually forms on or in bone. These are usually benign tumors that show few symptoms.
Chondroma is commonly found near joints, especially in the small bones of the hands or feet, although they can occur in other areas. These include the femur bone (thigh), humerus (upper arm) and ribs.
They are seen equally in men and women and tend to occur in patients between the ages of 20 to 40.
Symptoms of Chondroma
A chondroma is often asymptomatic and accidentally discovered during x-rays or tests for an unrelated medical condition. This is especially true if they occur in larger bones such as the femur (thigh) or humerus (upper arm).
A chondroma that occurs in a person’s hand or feet sometimes produces swelling or a lump that the patient detects on their own. As the tumor continues to grow it can become painful if it interferes with surrounding tissue. It might feel tender and sore or like a dull ache.
In rare cases the tumor has even caused fractures in the small bones of the hands and feet. While a chondroma is benign if several tumors grow together there is a chance that it will become malignant. If it does it then becomes known as a chondrosarcoma.
Types of Chondroma
There are two main types of chondroma. The first one is called enchondromas and these occur inside the bone within the bone marrow. This is the most common type of chondroma, so much so that the two terms are often interchangeable. The second type is called ecchondroma. An ecchondroma is a chondroma that occurs outside of the bone. This is also known as periosteal chondroma, referring to the membrane that covers the surface of the bone (the periosteum).