Bumps on the bottom of the foot can have a number of causes. Some bumps will go away without treatment. Others need in-home treatments or treatments from a doctor.
The following causes and symptoms can help you narrow down your best course of action.
The presence of bumps on the bottom of your foot can have many causes, including:
Calluses can form if one area of your skin experiences a lot of friction. This can be caused by your shoes.
If you have diabetes, you should be on the lookout for calluses. You’ll want these to be treated by a doctor.
Calluses can also form on the ball of the foot, due to the misalignment of the metatarsal bone, which is directly behind the toe.
If the bumps on the bottom of your foot are filled with fluid and are itchy, they may be caused by dyshidrotic eczema. Experts think this condition is caused by allergies. People with dyshidrotic eczema may also experience skin that flakes, cracks, or is painful to the touch.
Plantar fibroma is a hereditary condition that causes a nodule to form on the bottom of the foot.
The nodule forms in the middle (beneath the arch) of your foot. It may be painful when pressure is applied.
Plantar warts are caused by HPV. If you have cuts or weak spots on the bottom of your foot, the virus can enter your body, causing small warts to form. The warts are usually found at the forefoot or heel, or at the base of the toes.
Plantar warts are generally fleshy, rough, and grainy. They are also relatively small. You may notice black pinpoints in the center of these warts. When you walk or stand, you may experience tenderness or pain. Plantar warts usually go away without treatment. However, there are instances when you may want to see a doctor, for example if:
- your warts bleed or change in color or appearance
- you have type 2 diabetes
- your home remedies aren’t effective
- your warts cause discomfort that affects your day-to-day life
- you have a weakened immune system
Haglund’s deformity occurs when a bump on the back of the heel bone forms underneath the Achilles tendon. The bump can become irritated and painful when it rubs against your shoes.
This condition can be difficult to diagnose because it has similar symptoms to Achilles tendonosis.
Bursas are natural cushions between your bone and the soft tissue that is present throughout your body. Bursa cushions are lubricated. They relieve the friction that occurs during your day-to-day activities.
The synovial membrane houses the lubrication for the bursa. Bursitis occurs after an injury. The membrane becomes inflamed and swells with extra synovial fluid.
If you have bursitis, you will likely notice swelling on or near your big toe. See a doctor right away if the swelling is accompanied by a fever and redness or skin warmth. This is a sign of an infection.
Cysts or benign soft tissue tumors
Cysts are sac-like structures with a capsule. The inside of a cyst is usually filled with a substance that is gaseous, semisolid, or liquid. Cysts can be extremely small, visible only under a microscope, or they may grow in size.
As a cyst grows on the bottom of the foot, it can cause discomfort. Cysts usually have no accompanying symptoms.
While cysts are benign, synovial sarcomas are malignant. This means they are harmful and may spread to other parts of the body. Cysts and sarcomas can mimic each other at first, though sarcomas are rare.
A sarcoma may not be noticeable at first. However, as it grows, you may notice a lump and swelling on your foot. You may feel pain and numbness. You may also experience a decreased range of motion. The causes of sarcomas aren’t known but are believed to be hereditary.
Treatments vary widely based on what is causing the pain on the bottom of your foot.
You can purchase callus pads or orthotics at drugstores to prevent your shoes from rubbing against your feet. You can also use a pumice stone to minimize the appearance of a callus. If home treatments aren’t effective and the callus is making it difficult to walk, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Treating plantar fibromas
If your fibromas are painful, purchase a shoe insole or pad at a drugstore. Surgery usually isn’t considered except as a last option. This is because surgery would require removing most of the plantar fascia, or the ligament the nodule is on.
Treating plantar warts
Plantar warts usually go away with in-home treatment. Avoid touching the warts, and wash your hands if you’ve touched them. Change your shoes and socks every day, and make sure your feet stay clean and dry.
Avoid walking barefoot in public spaces. If home treatments don’t work, your doctor can remove the warts.
Treating Haglund’s deformity
Switch to shoes with an open back, such as clogs. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs may help reduce pain and inflammation. You can also try icing the area for about 30 minutes per day.
If home treatments aren’t effective, ultrasound treatments, soft tissue massages, orthotics, heel pads and immobilizing boots can also help. If surgery is needed, your doctor will remove the excess bone from the heel.
Avoid activities that make the pain worse. You can also rest the foot, ice the area, and take NSAIDs.
If the condition doesn’t improve, your doctor may want to try corticosteroids or physical therapy. Surgery is often considered a last resort.
Treating cysts and benign soft tissue tumors
Cysts and benign tumors usually don’t need to be treated unless they cause discomfort. Cysts can be drained by your doctor with a sterile needle. Surgery may be needed for larger cysts. Never attempt to drain a cyst yourself.
Treating synovial sarcomas
Malignant tumors are most often removed with surgery. Your doctor may also suggest chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
The outlook for a bump on the foot depends on the underlying cause. In most cases, treatment can be relatively swift and effective.