Hopefully, you are in the habit of conducting periodic self-exams on your feet. This is an excellent way to be proactive about your podiatric health. Sometimes, patients will come to us at Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS because in the course of checking their feet, they discover a lump. Lumps in the feet may be soft or hard, large or small, and occur on virtually any part of your foot. Fortunately, most foot lumps are benign, but it’s still essential to get them checked by our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein. The foot doctor will examine the lump and may do a biopsy or get an x-ray or other imaging studies to help diagnose the cause. Here are 4 common types of lumps found in the foot:
- Haglund’s Deformity—if you have a hard, bony protrusion on the back of your heel, there’s a good chance that it is Haglund’s Deformity or, “pump bump,” as it is more commonly known. This bony enlargement is surrounded by soft tissue which can become aggravated and inflamed with pressure from stiff-backed shoes, like pumps—hence the name. Without surgery, there is no way to eliminate the bump, but shoe modifications, padding, orthotics, and exercise may reduce pain and inflammation.
- Ganglion Cyst—a ganglion is a knot and this soft tissue mass is caused by a small amount of fluid leakage from a joint that develops into a lump. A ganglion cyst is benign and may form on the top or side of the foot or near the ankle joint.
- Plantar Fibroma—another benign mass that forms in the ligament in the arch of the foot is a plantar fibroma. Doctors aren’t sure what causes fibromas. They can occur in one or both feet and may grow larger but do not get smaller or go away without treatment. Steroid injections may be used to shrink the fibroma and reduce inflammation. Orthotics and/or physical therapy are other possible non-invasive treatments. If none of these are successful at eliminating pain and discomfort from the fibroma, surgery may be the only option.