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Home :: Leg Exostosis

Leg Exostosis

An overgrowth of bone in the tibia (the larger bone in the lower leg). It extends out from the bone like a spur and is visible on X-rays. An exostosis occurs at the site of repeated injury, usually from direct blows. This benign overgrowth of bone can be mistaken for a bone tumor.


  • Tibia.
  • Knee joint (sometimes).
  • Ankle joint (sometimes).
  • Soft tissue surrounding the exostosis, including nerves, lymph vessels, blood vessels and periosteum (covering of bone).


  • Repeated injury (contusions, sprains or strains) that involve the periosteum-the covering to bone (tibia) in the lower leg.
  • Chronic irritation to an already damaged area.

Signs & Symptoms

  • No symptoms for mild cases.
  • Pain and tenderness in the lower leg at the site of the exostosis.
  • Extreme sensitivity to pressure or even minor injury.
  • Change in contour of the tibia, ranging from a slight lump to the appearance of a large calcified spur (1cm or more in length). In the worst cases, the exostosis may break away and feel like a distinct foreign body. An X-ray will show it to be loose in the tissues of the lower leg.
  • "Locking" of the lower leg, if a tendon catches on the exostosis during exercise.


Follow your doctor's instructions. Instructions are supplemental.

  • Rest the injured area. Use splints or crutches if needed.
  • Apply heat frequently. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments and ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available.
  • Follow instructions under How to Prevent to avoid a recurrence of the injury.


  • Medicine usually is not necessary for this disorder. For minor pain, you may use non-prescription drugs such as aspirin.
  • If surgery is necessary, your doctor may prescribe: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help control swelling. Stronger pain relievers. Antibiotics to fight infection.

Home Diet

During recovery, eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity.Your doctor may suggest vitamin and mineral supplements to promote healing.
Prevention Tips
  • Engage in vigorous muscle strengthening and conditioning prior to beginning regular sports participation.
  • Warm up adequately before competition or workouts to decrease the risk of injury.
  • Allow adequate recovery time for any leg, ankle or knee injury.
  • Wear protective equipment, such as shin guards and knee pads, for participation in contact sports.
  • Practice and learn the proper moves and techniques for your sport to decrease the risk of injury.
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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.