This is one of the more common bony lesions of the foot. It is a benign tumor of bone and cartilage. It is generally found underneath the toenail and may press upwards resulting in deformity of the nail plate and/ or soft tissues. In severe lesions, the overlying tissues may ulcerate and become infected. This lesion responds well to surgical excision, and rarely reoccurs.
- Deformity and separation of the nail plate, expansion of the soft tissues
- Direct pressure on the nail may be painful
- Aggravated by wearing tight shoes.
- There may be signs of ulceration and infection.
- Cause is unknown, but believed to be trauma
What you can do
- Consult a podiatrist or physician
- Avoid tight fitting foot wear
- If an infection develops soak the foot in a basin of warm water two or three times a day. Contact your podiatrist or physician immediately.
- Abnormal growths and infections require prompt professional attention.
What the doctor may do
- Take x-rays or perform other imaging to establish a correct diagnosis.
- If the toenail is causing problems, it may be removed
- Treat any infection present with antibiotics
- Surgically remove the exostosis
- Completely remove a deformed toenail so it will not grow back.
Other conditions resembling a Subungual Exostosis
- Other, more serious, bone tumors may resemble an exostosis.
- Evaluation by a trained practitioner is essential
- An infected ingrown toenail may resemble an ulceration from an exostosis
- Chronic in-growing nails can cause deformity of the nail plate and/or surrounding soft tissues.