Everybody knows about some of the more common foot conditions, like ankle sprains and ingrown toenails, but there are also a variety of lesser-known conditions that affect thousands of Americans every year. Today, we highlight one of those conditions. Below, we take a look at osteoid osteomas of the leg.
Osteoid Osteomas Causes and Symptoms
An osteoid osteoma is a noncancerous bone tumor that typically develops in longer bones in the body. Because of this, osteoid osteomas usually develop in a person’s femur or tibia (the thighbone and tibia). Osteoid osteoma aren’t as problematic as other tumors because they are benign and they do not spread throughout the body, but they still cause a variety of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:
Increased pain throughout the day or at night
Although they tend to develop in the longer bones in the leg, that doesn’t mean the tumor itself is very large. Osteoid ostemas are usually less than 2 cm and they don’t grow in size, but they become problematic because they cause a large amount of atypical bone to form around them. They also cause a new type of abnormal bone material called osteoid bone to form, which appears clear when viewed under an X-ray.
Although the cause of their development is unknown, data suggests that osteoid osteomas are more common in young individuals between the ages of 4 and 25, and males are three times more likely to develop the condition than women.
Diagnosis and Treatment Of Osteoid Osteomas
Osteoid Osteomas are diagnosed with the help of a physical exam and imaging techniques. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and then exam the painful area before sending you off for imaging tests.
An osteoid osteoma is typically diagnosed with the help of an x-ray, as it can reveal a thickened bone around a small central core of lower density bone. Once confirmed, your doctor may order a CT scan, as it can provide a cross-sectional image of the tumor, which aids in evaluation, or a biopsy, to test a tissue sample.
Treatment of the osteoid osteoma varies based on how it responds to conservative care. A large number of osteoid osteomas will simply disappear over the course of several years, so if pain is mild, over-the-counter pain relievers may be the only treatment a person needs. However, if pain is not relieved by OTC medications or they don’t want to wait for their tumor to resolve on its own, surgery may be necessary. Surgery involves removing the entire tumor through a small opening that has been created over the tumor location. This procedure has a high rate of success, but the doctor will want to ensure the whole tumor is removed, or it can grow back.
In most cases, patients can return to every day activities within a couple of days of surgery with only minor restrictions. Your surgeon will walk you through your specific care guidelines following the operation.