What is Maffucci Syndrome?

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
January 31, 2018
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: podiatrist   bumps   bones   skin   birth  

Sometimes it is easy to forget about our feet even though we use them every day. They are often hidden in socks and shoes and do not get the attention they need. As such, they are often overlooked when doing a health self-assessment. Due to this lack of attention, large bumps can appear on the feet and cause quite a shock. These bumps should be taken seriously and be examined by a podiatrist right away as they may be caused by Maffucci Syndrome.

Maffucci Syndrome is a disorder that primarily affects the bones and skin. It is characterized by multiple cysts made out of cartilage usually found in the bone marrow. They usually start out as non-cancerous. These growths most commonly occur in the limb bones, especially in the bones of the feet. In some circumstances, they may also occur in the skull, hands, ribs, and bones of the spine. These cysts may result in severe bone deformities, shortening of the limbs, and fractures. Although it is not a common deformity, it is a deformity that many podiatrists are equipped to treat.

The signs and symptoms of Maffucci Syndrome may be detectable at birth, although they generally do not become apparent until around the age of 5. Cysts develop near the ends of bones, where normal growth occurs, and they often stop forming after affected individuals stop growing early on in adulthood. Because of this, people with Maffucci Syndrome typically have short stature and underdeveloped muscles.

Maffucci Syndrome can sometimes be confused with a similar disorder that involves cysts known as Ollier disease. Maffucci Syndrome is unique due to the presence of red or purplish growths in the skin consisting of tangles of abnormal blood vessels. In addition to these tangled blood vessels, individuals with Maffucci Syndrome occasionally also have masses on their feet that are made up of the thin tubes that carry lymph fluid within the affected foot or area.

Although the cysts associated with Maffucci Syndrome start out as noncancerous, they can become cancerous. Specifically, affected patients may develop bone cancers called chondrosarcomas. People with Maffucci Syndrome also have an increased risk of other cancers.

Is your child exhibiting symptoms of Maffucci disorder? Want a second opinion from a highly trained professional? Call Dr. Andrew H. Cohen of Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center, located in Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan. Call 989-790-8009 or make an appointment online today. Your child’s feet are important, let us help treat them.