People can sometimes experience severe ingrown toenails that recur frequently because of a bump under the toenail that defroms the nail. These can potentially be caused by small tumors under the skin causing pressure and irritation. A type of common tumor that can cause this issue is known as an osteochondroma. Osteochondromas are benign tumors composed of both cartilage and bone. This tumor develops during childhood or adolescence and forms on the surface of a bone near the growth plate. In the foot, this is usually seen in the big toe. As it forms, the mass can deform the skin under the nail and the nail itself, leading to a hump in the nail.
Osteochondromas account for 35-40% of benign bone tumors. The exact cause is unknown. Symptoms can include a painless bump near the joint, pain with activity, as well as numbness or tingling. They can also cause a small skin sore along the skin underneath the nail (called the nail bed), due to increased pressure from the lesion as well as outside pressure from shoes.
Since osteochondromas are benign, unless there is pain or another more urgent issue, aggressive treatment is not mandatory. Often, doctors watch the area to make sure there are no unusual changes or signs of infection. However, these masses can be a source of persisting pain in some people, and need to be surgically removed.
If you are experiencing pain in your big toe due to a nail that is humped up and curved, give the podiatrists at Indiana Podiatry Group a call. We can give the toe a full assessment, figure out what is causing the pain and nail deformity, and come up with a treatment plan that keeps the pain from returning.