An enchondroma is a benign (noncancerous) tumor that forms in cartilage. Cartilage is a firm but flexible tissue that is found throughout the body, such as our spine, joints, bones, lungs, nose, and ears. Enchondromas most often develop in the cartilage that is inside your bones and especially in the long bones of your hands and feet.


enchondroma slide

This slide shows benign cartilage cells called chondrocytes suspended within an amorphous, bluish matrix. As compared to normal cartilage, this lesion has an increased number of chondrocytes. A tumor with this histologic appearance that has not invaded the cortex of the bone is characteristic of an enchondroma.

ASCP Patient Champion Enchondroma

“Without laboratory testing, I would not know the difference between normal and abnormal bone tissue. I would not know the actual cause of my bone fractures and other medical conditions.”


When Hui Yan fractured one of her fingers, she thought that it would be fine to heal on its own. She rested for a month, and it felt better, so she went back to contact sports and lifting heavy boxes at work.

It wasn’t until six months later, when lightly brushing her finger caused intense pain, that she realized something might still be wrong. She went to the emergency room to see what could be done. When the ER doctors reviewed her x-rays, they confirmed that she had another fracture, but it was most likely caused by an underlying disease. This type of fracture is called a pathologic fracture. Hui Yan went to an orthopedic clinic to get an MRI. The results were abnormal, and her doctor suspected an enchondroma, but did not recommend surgery or further testing.

After two additional fractures in the same place, however, Hui Yan decided to move forward with surgery. The surgeon removed the problematic piece of bone in her finger, which was sent to the laboratory. A pathologist examined the sample and confirmed that Hui Yan had an enchondroma and that her tumor was not malignant. Hui Yan was relieved to finally have answers. Hui Yan recovered fully from her surgery, and now works to spread awareness of enchondroma and other bone tumors.

“If fractures do not recover quickly, seek a doctor's advice. This will allow for a prompt intervention and the necessary investigation to minimize risk of further complications.”