An enchondroma is a type of benign (non-cancerous) bone tumor that originates from cartilage. Cartilage is the specialized, gristly connective tissue that is present in adults and the tissue from which most bones develop. Cartilage plays an important role in the growth process. There are many different types of cartilage that are present throughout the body.
An enchondroma most often affects the cartilage that lines the inside of the bones. The bones most often involved with this benign tumor are the miniature long bones of the hands and feet. It may, however, also involve other bones such as the femur (thighbone), humerus (upper arm bone), or tibia (one of the two lower leg bones).
Enchondromas are the most common type of hand tumor. While it may affect an individual at any age, it is most common between the ages of 10 and 20 years. The occurrence between males and females is equal.
Conditions associated with enchondroma
An enchondroma may occur as an individual tumor or several tumors. The conditions that involve multiple lesions include the following:
Ollier's disease (enchondromatosis) - When multiple sites in the body develop the tumors
Maffucci's syndrome - A combination of multiple tumors and angiomas (benign tumors made up of blood vessels)