Self-exams go a long way in keeping your feet healthy and catching conditions before they worsen. Besides visual surveys, you can feel for foot bumps using your fingers to check for any abnormalities. In this article, we explore cysts and tumors and how to distinguish between these types of growth.
Your body should replace old, dying cells with new ones. But when damaged cells stay in the body, they can multiply and form a tumor that feels like hard lumps under the skin. This abnormal growth can be malignant (cancerous) or benign.
While benign tissues are harmless, malignant ones spread to other body parts and can be life-threatening. An example of a benign tumor is plantar fibromas that develops on the foot’s plantar fascia muscle. It occurs as inflammatory nodules, causing pain when you walk. Giant cell tumors are also benign and develop on the toes or the top and soles of your foot.
Cysts are air-filled or fluid-filled sacs that appear anywhere around the body. For instance, ganglion cysts form in your feet, ankles, or along the tendons of your hands and wrists. The oval or round ganglion cysts contain a jellylike fluid and can grow depending on your activity levels. You might even experience some pain or tingling when the cysts push a nerve, sometimes affecting joint movement.
Although most cysts are benign, a diagnosis can reveal solid components within the sac. As such, you need an evaluation to rule out any cancerous growth. Unlike tumors that are usually firm and stuck in place, cysts are soft, movable, and may or may not be painful.
Diagnosing Foot Bumps
Although you can examine yourself at home, you still need a doctor to check your foot bumps. Besides reviewing your medical history, the doctor can recommend X-rays and other imaging tests for a more accurate diagnosis.
Your podiatrist may also order a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis—this is when a sample of the lump tissue is tested to determine whether it’s a tumor, cyst, or other type of growth.
Provided you can wear shoes and walk around comfortably, doctors won’t do anything for benign cysts or tumors. However, if the lump is painful or infected, they can prescribe medication and drain the cyst using a needle. Surgery may also be necessary for larger foot bumps that affect your mobility.
Although your foot bumps might be harmless, they could also point to a serious condition. Contact the Foot Specialists of Birmingham for a proper assessment and diagnosis.