The cause of osteochondroma is unknown. One type may be passed down through genes in families.

Risk Factors

Osteochondroma that is not inherited is more common in children and teens. The inherited type is more common in newborns, males, and people who are White.

Having a family history of hereditary multiple osteochondromas raises the risk of it.



Symptoms of osteochondroma may be:

  • A hard, bony lump that may:
    • Be painless, but the tissue around it may become irritated and painful
    • Get bigger
  • A long bone that breaks with less than the usual amount of force
  • Pressure on nearby structures, including nerves


The doctor will ask about the child's symptoms and health history. Symptoms and a physical exam may point to osteochondroma. They may also have:

Diagnosis is confirmed by imaging tests, such as:

  • X-rays
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Angiography

The child's doctor may do a biopsy . A tissue sample is taken and checked to see if the lump is cancerous.



The goals of osteochondoma treatment are:

  • Monitoring—If the lump is not causing pain or other problems, it may be left alone. The person and doctor will keep track of it for any changes or new problems.
  • Surgery—The lump is removed if it causes pain or other complications. It is also removed if there is a chance of cancer. If the bone is weak, it can be rebuilt. Rebuilding the bone is done over a long period of time.


There are no guidelines to prevent osteochondroma.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.