You might not pay particularly close attention to the way your feet look – especially if you’re keeping them in closed-toed shoes most of the time – but anything that changes their shape or appearance tends to be pretty noticeable. The appearance of lumps or bumps on your feet can affect the way that your shoes fit, cause issues with your gait, or make you insecure or anxious about the source of the deformity.
There are a number of different things that might cause lumps to show up on different parts of your feet, and while some of these are benign, others may be rooted in a more serious problem. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of foot lumps and the best courses of action for each.
Among the more obvious things that might cause lumps to appear on your feet, injuries such as sprains or other types of trauma are likely to be pretty easy to identify. Sprains are frequently accompanied by swelling and bruising of the affected area, which in most cases should subside within less than a week. Rest and basic first aid techniques like applying ice or medical wrap is usually sufficient, but you should see a doctor if you are experiencing extreme pain that makes it difficult to walk or stand.
Bunions are bony bumps that appear on the outside of your foot, at the base of the big toe joint, or less commonly at the base of another toe. They can result from a range of factors which include genetics, footwear, and repetitive stress. Bunions can be relatively pain-free, but may be tender or cause calluses or blisters from the foot rubbing against the inside of your shoe. Mild bunions can often be treated by simple changes such as switching to more accommodating or comfortable footwear, or via use of a custom orthotic, but in severe cases surgery may be required to correct them.
That lump on your foot could be a tumor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should panic. In many cases, these tumors are benign and do not indicate a more serious threat to your health. However, if you do notice the emergence of a bump where there wasn’t one before, it’s a good idea to get a biopsy to ensure that it is not a sign of cancer. Benign tumors should also be removed if they are causing discomfort or other issues.
Ganglion cysts are non-cancerous, fluid-filled lumps which most often appear on the tops of the feet. These supple, gel-like growths may not be accompanied by any pain or other symptoms unless they grow sufficiently large to cause friction against the inside of your shoes or the other structures of the feet. If ganglion cysts are causing significant discomfort, they can be drained or removed through surgery.
While relatively similar to ganglion cysts, plantar fibromas feel harder to the touch and more often occur on the soles of the foot. Like ganglion cysts, plantar fibromas are benign and relatively symptom-free unless they grow to a significant size. Plantar fibromas which cause pain or discomfort can be removed surgically.
Another type of benign growth, a lipoma is a fatty deposit which can appear on many parts of the body, including the feet. These are the most common benign tumors and customarily emerge as you age. Lipomas are slow-growing and rarely cause serious symptoms, but can also be excised by surgery if needed.
Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs which provide cushioning for joints throughout your body. When the bursae in your feet become inflamed due to injury or repetitive stress, it causes a painful condition called bursitis which is characterized by swelling, redness, and pain while standing, walking, or putting pressure on your foot. There are a range of interventions which may help treat bursitis, including rest, stretches, icing the area, custom orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, or steroid injections. If more conservative methods are ineffective, surgery may be recommended.
Fungal or bacterial infections can develop due to blistering, wounds to the feet, or improper footcare. Foot infections should be taken seriously, especially for those who have diabetes. Diabetic patients may have wounds or infections that they do not initially feel or notice due to neuropathy, which causes numbness in the extremities. If you notice swelling accompanied by bleeding, pus leakage, or fever symptoms, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
Concerned about foot lumps? Talk to a podiatrist!
The podiatrists at Weil Foot & Ankle Institute are experts at treating foot-related issues, and you shouldn’t hesitate to contact us if you are experiencing pain or anxiety related to foot lumps. Whenever possible, we treat these problems through non-invasive means, but are also able to provide the highest standard of foot surgery if it proves necessary. Visit our online appointment portal to schedule a visit.