What causes lumps and bumps of the foot?

First, think about the following Latin terms: rubor for redness, calor for temperature, dolor for pain and tumor or tumor, a mass or a growth and I would add one more to that, but it's actually just a swelling, still forms a lump, from inflammation.

Redness and Temperature

So what happens if you see an area on the skin, the outermost surface of the foot and any part of the human body, with increased redness and increased temperature? And we look there to see if there's anything in terms of a formation above it or from under it that creates what you would call a lump. Once that's done, we now look at it a little further and we have to decide are we dealing with a swelling or are we dealing with infection.

Besides skin, we have everything under the skin and here's where it gets a little bit more complex.

Ganglion Cyst

The most common lumps and bumps we see under the skin are ganglion cysts. A ganglion cyst is actually like a little balloon of fluid that forms spontaneously. It starts from a tendon or a joint that's filled with gooey fluid and it waxes and wanes. As it waxes and wanes, you will see a lump appearing on top of your foot or on the side of your foot and then it recedes.  Ganglion cysts are luckily very benign.

Lumps and Bumps Form From Tendons and Muscles

We move on to the tendons and muscles. Tendons are pretty superficial. You can see here in my hand, the tendons are sticking out as they move down to the foot from the muscle in your leg. Those tendons become inflamed and they become tendonitis and if that sits long enough it can feel as if you have a lump.

And lastly, as you go deeper into the foot, we have bumps in the bone that stick up. A bunion, I just made one on my hand. That didn't grow any bone there, did it? I moved a bone out and over and it also can become truly an enlargement of bone.

On top of the toe, knuckle of the joint sticks up, we get a hammer toe and in the middle of the foot, particularly in older patients, when the bones jam long enough over time, the bone becomes enlarged and that becomes arthritis.

So there you have a few of the most common lumps and bumps that we see. If you're having pain, it's not normal. Redness and swelling is not normal. If these kinds of things develop, come on in, let's evaluate them and get to the root of the problem.

Need Relief from a Lump or Bump in Seattle, Washington? Request an Appointment Now

Don't let foot pain from a lump or bump cause you to miss out on the activities you enjoy. Complete the contact form on this page or call our office, the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, at 206-368-7000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rion Berg.

Most new patients are seen within 1-2 week's time. During your initial visit, Dr. Berg will spend up to 30 minutes getting to know you, your podiatry complaints, and your goals so that he can recommend the treatment best meets your needs. Don’t wait—contact us today.

North Seattle Foot & Ankle Specialist Dr. Rion Berg offers compassionate podiatry care for all foot and ankle problems to those living in Seattle Washington and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an immediate appointment or request an appointment online.

Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.