Why Do I Have a Soft Bump on my Foot?

Stephen D. Lasday, DPM Podiatrist Sarasota and Bradenton

There could be many reasons why you have a bump on your foot, but one of those reasons could be a ganglion cyst.

A ganglion cyst is a sac filled with a jellylike fluid. The word “ganglion” means “knot” and is used to describe the knot-like lump that forms below the skin.  Hippocrates is generally credited with their description.

Ganglion cysts are one of the most common benign soft-tissue masses. They usually occur on the wrist, but they can be found on the foot, too.  These malleable cysts can vary in size. They can get smaller and larger, and sometimes even disappear completely, only to return later!

The cause of ganglion cysts is often unknown, but they may arise from some type of trauma. Another commonly accepted cause of  is known as the “herniation hypothesis”, in which they occur as distention of a weakened portion of a joint capsule or tendon sheath.

Ganglion cyst symptoms include:

  • A noticeable lump
  • Tingling or burning, if the cyst is touching a nerve
  • Dull pain or ache, if the cyst is pressing against a tendon or joint
  • Difficulty wearing shoes due to irritation between the lump and the shoe

A ganglion cyst can be diagnosed via careful examination of the foot. The lump should  visible and, when pressed in a certain way, move freely underneath the skin.

Treatment Options

  • Monitoring- Monitoring is the first treatment option if the cyst causes no pain and does not interfere with walking.
  • Shoe modifications- Placing a pad in the shoe in order to keep the cyst from rubbing against the shoe helps reduce pain and irritation.
  • Aspiration and injection- The aspiration method is when a needle is injected into the cyst and drained. Additionally, a steroid medication may be injected as well.
  • Surgery- Surgical removal of a ganglion cyst remains a viable option as well.

One outdated method used to treat a ganglion cyst was to strike the lump with a large heavy book, causing it to rupture and drain back into the tissue. Historically, a Bible was the largest book in the house and was commonly used for this purpose, which led to the nickname of “Bible bumps”…yikes!

Fortunately, we will not be striking your foot with a large bible or book. If you suspect you have a ganglion cyst, we promise to be gentle!

If you are concerned about a  ganglion cyst or are looking for a podiatrist in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Lasday, Dr. Zdancewicz, Dr. Goecker, or Dr. Sotelo for a thorough and professional evaluation, either in our Bradenton Podiatry office at (941) 753-9599 or our Sarasota Podiatry office at (941) 366-2627.

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