What causes foot lump?

Foot lumps have many possible causes, including trauma, infections, inflammatory diseases, benign cysts and tumors, and cancers.

Traumatic causes of foot lumps

Minor and severe injuries, as well as internal trauma, can result in a localized swelling or lump including:

  • Blood clot (thrombosis)
  • Broken bones
  • Hematoma (collection of blood in body tissues)
  • Sting or bite injuries

Infectious causes of foot lumps

An infection may produce one or more lumps in the form of a localized abscess or as a diffuse enlargement of lymph nodes in the foot. Infectious causes of lumps include:

  • Abscesses
  • Cellulitis (infection of the skin and tissue beneath the skin)
  • Ingrown toenail
  • Papilloma virus infections (warts)

Inflammatory causes of foot lumps

Some conditions that lead to inflammation in the body may produce foot lumps including:

  • Ganglion cyst (growth on a tendon sheath often found in the foot)
  • Gout (type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the joints)
  • Osteoarthritis (type of arthritis characterized by degeneration of the cartilage and bone in the joints)
  • Rheumatic fever (disease characterized by inflammation of the joints and of the connective tissue, especially in the blood vessels and heart)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation)

Tumors that can cause foot lumps

Both benign and malignant tumors can cause foot lumps including:

  • Fibroma (benign tumor composed of fibrous or connective tissue)
  • Lipoma (benign fatty growth)
  • Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system)
  • Melanoma (cancer arising in the melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells, in the skin or other parts of the body)
  • Nevi (moles of the skin)
  • Nonmelanoma skin cancers
  • Sarcoma (malignant tumor of bone or cartilage)

Serious or life-threatening causes of foot lumps

In some cases, a foot lump may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated by a health care provider. These include:

  • Abscess with spreading infection
  • Cancer
  • Foot ulcer in an individual with diabetes
  • Fracture of bone

Questions for diagnosing the cause of a foot lump

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your foot lump including:

  • How long have you had the foot lump?
  • Are you experiencing any other symptoms along with the foot lump?
  • Is the lump getting bigger?
  • Is the lump painful?
  • Do you have lumps anywhere else on your body?

What are the potential complications of foot lumps?

Foot lumps caused by cancer may have life-threatening consequences, which depend on the type and stage (extent) of the cancer. Left untreated, foot lumps due to abscesses or serious infections may lead to widespread infection in the body. Following your treatment plan for serious causes of foot lumps can help reduce your risk of complications including:

  • Amputation
  • Decreased mobility
  • Joint destruction and deformity
  • Necrosis of tissue or gangrene
  • Spread of cancer
  • Spread of infection
  • Ulceration or skin infection


  1. Skin rashes and other changes. FamilyDoctor.org. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/tools/symptom/545.html.
  2. Soft tissue tumors - benign. Cedars-Sinai. http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Soft-Tissue-Tumors---Benign.aspx.
  3. Kahan S, Miller R, Smith EG (Eds.). In A Page Signs & Symptoms, 2d ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Williams, 2009.

What is foot lump?

A foot lump is a protuberance or localized area of swelling occurring on the foot. Other terms used to describe the various types of lumps include bump, nodule, contusion, tumor and cyst. Foot lumps can be caused by any number of conditions, including infections, inflammation, tumors or trauma. Depending on the cause, lumps may be single or multiple, soft or firm, painful or painless. They may ... Read more about foot lumpintroduction


What other symptoms might occur with foot lump?

Foot lumps may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that cause foot lumps may also involve other body systems.

Related localized symptoms that may occur along with a foot lump

A foot lump may be accompanied by other localized symptoms including:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases

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