If you notice a soft pink mass on the tip of your big toe or sensitive area under the nail plate that is protruding and is painful when pressure is applied you may have a subungal exostosis. A subungual exostosis is a benign bone growth that arises from the dorsal surface of the distal phalanx (a small bone at the end of the toe) and causes pain and deformity of the nail.
Common causes for subungual exostosis include trauma, narrow shoes, previous nail surgery and certain biomechanical deformities such as a Hallux limitus.
At Foot & Ankle Doctors, Inc. x-rays of the foot will be taken to examine the bony growth and its involvement of the big toe. Differential diagnosis include: osteochondroma, Nora’s lesion, and osteosarcoma.
Conservative treatment includes purchasing a wider shoe and continuing with routine podiatric care.
Surgical removal is the recommended course of action. There are various surgical approaches and incisions that can be used to remove the bony prominence depending on its severity. In most cases the big toenail is removed to gain access to the bony prominence, which is then cut out. A surgical shoe will be dispensed and should be worn for 1-2 weeks.