Well it’s almost summer and it’s time for your feet to come out of hiding. I recall a popular movie in the 1990’s of a guy who was obsessed with the appearance of women’s feet. In fact, if there were any “lumps” or “bumps” either visible on her person or on her shoes, she would not get a second date. It may sound petty, but the above example may make some people (not just women) afraid to show their feet.

Discovering lumps or bumps on your feet can be a bit scary, even intimidating. Such questions may run though one’s mind: what is that? Is that normal?  Can I get rid of it? I will tell you the answer may vary depending on what the “lump” or “bump” is. So let’s go over some common abnormalities one may find:

Bunion: A mild to severe bony prominence on the outside of the big toe joint or small (baby) toe joint. They often have a hereditary link in which one develops the “foot type” from a parent. You may notice mom or dad or even a grandparent has a “bunion.” They are typically benign (non-cancerous) but may cause discomfort while wearing closed in shoes or while walking. Treatment usually involves wearing wider shoes, steroid injections, or in more severe and/or painful cases, surgical removal.

Hammertoes/Calluses: Contracted toes with or without callus (hard skin). They are caused by a tendon imbalance on top or bottom of the toes. The friction created from shoes and direct pressure (i.e. standing, walking, running) can cause painful calluses. They can involve a single toe or multiple toes. They can present in low- or high-arched feet. Often causes pain in certain closed fitting shoes. One can get pain relief with corn pads, toe separators, or surgical correction.

Plantar Fibroma(toses): Benign round soft tissue lesion(s) found on the bottom of feet within the arch. They grow relatively slowing but progressively. Plantar fibromatoses can be painful if located on the weightbearing surface of the foot arch. Treatment includes steroid injections, padding, medicated creams, or arch supports. Surgical correction may be necessary if painful or debilitating.

Exostosis (Extra Bone Formation): Exostoses are often described as a “knot” on top of the foot, usually overlying a joint. They are most commonly found overlying the midfoot joints but can theoretically be anywhere bone is. They are sometimes painful with shoe and/or direct pressure. Treatment includes extra-depth shoes, padding, or surgical removal.

The above examples are just a few “lumps” or “bumps” that can occur. So, no more hiding. If you suspect any abnormality with or without pain, consult your local podiatrist for further evaluation. Your feet will be glad you did.