Enter your e-mail to sign up
for Our Daily News Updates
Friday, March 29, 2013

Foot Health: Don’t ignore that mysterious bump on your foot – it may need a little TLC

By Dr. Nicole G. Freels
KyForward columnist

It may not be a problem all the time. Maybe you don’t even think about it until you’re putting on your socks in the morning. I’m talking about that mysterious bump on your foot. If it’s not causing you pain, it’s not an issue. However, chronic foot pain is NOT normal. You may have one of the following issues.

A bump on the foot can be anything from a ganglion (fluid filled) cyst to bursitis to a fibrous mass or a bone spur. A hard bump on the top of your foot is most likely due to a bone spur (osteophyte).

A bone spur is really just extra bone growing on normal bone, causing a bump that may cause pain or stress if it presses on other bones, nerves or tissue.

A ganglion cyst is a fluid filled sac that forms on the top of a joint or the covering of a tendon.

Bursitis is caused by inflammation of the fluid located between bone, muscles, tendons and skin.

All of these “bumps” can form as part of normal aging, trauma, wearing ill-fitting shoes or due to continuous stress on the feet from activity or extra weight.

So what should you do about this bump on your foot?

Treatment can range from leaving it alone to surgically removing it. Typically, ganglion cysts, bone spurs and bursitis do not require surgical treatment unless they are causing pain or damage to other parts of your foot.

Non-surgical treatment may include:

• anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen)
• aspiration of a cyst to remove excess fluid
• cortisone injections for bone spurs and bursitis
• icing the injured area to relieve symptoms
• deep tissue massage
• physical therapy and range of motion exercises (for bursitis)
• rest and possibly weight loss to take pressure off the joints

If significant joint damage has occurred, the pain is debilitating or you experience limited function, surgery to remove the offending bump may be needed. This is most often the case with a bone spur located on the heel, which receives more direct daily activities. Conservative options are recommended before surgical treatments are performed.

Dr. Nicole G. Freels is a foot doctor at Lexington Podiatry and the Kentucky Heel Pain Center.