Osteochondroma is an overgrowth of cartilage that develops near a growth plate—an area of growing tissue at the end of the long bones in a child or adolescent.

A solitary (only one in the body) osteochondroma is the most common type of non-cancerous (benign) bone tumor. Multiple osteochondromatosis is the term used to describe osteochondromas that grow all over the body.

Once a child’s bones mature, osteochondromas no longer develop. If they do not cause a lot of pain, they may never need to be treated. Osteochondromas can become cancerous, but it is extremely rare.


The cause of osteochondroma is unknown.


Common signs and symptoms related to osteochondroma are:

  • Painless bump near the joints (most commonly knee and shoulder)

  • Immediate pain and swelling

  • Activity-related pain

  • Forearm deformities

  • Short stature

  • Knock knees and ankles


To determine if your child has an osteochondroma, your specialized doctor may order imaging tests such as an X-ray or CT scan.


Non-Surgical Treatment

Instead, the doctor will carefully observe it and may take regular X-rays to keep track of any changes.

Surgical Treatment

Most of the time, solitary osteochondromas are not removed surgically. However, surgery may be considered after a child’s bones have matured, since this decreases the chance of the tumor growing back, and when:

  • There is pain with activity

  • There is pressure on a nerve or blood vessel

See more information

Bone Tumors