Soft, Painful, Small, Hard Lump on Top of the foot: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

There are myriad causes of lumps and bumps on our feet. Sore lumps prove troublesome and affect walking ability and locomotion. Comfortable feet are an essential pre-requisite to leading our normal, daily lives. Anything interfering with this is likely something we will not choose to ignore.

If a lump appears on the bone on the top of your foot, it may be soft or hard, a painless lump or angry, painful and sore. If a lump or swelling appears that is not hurting, nevertheless, it should still be investigated by a doctor. It requires identification, causation, diagnosis and confirmation that it is not going to develop into something more serious.

Lumps caused by injury or accident

Doubtless, a sporting incident or recognisable trauma or accident will explain the swollen lump that has arisen on your foot. An event not involving a break or necessitating stitching can be treated at home with rest, ice, compression and elevation, the acronym for which is RICE.

Oral anti-inflammatory medication can assist with tenderness, inflammation offering symptomatic pain relief. Cool gels and synthetic freezer aids are available to diminish swelling, frozen peas will do the job in an emergency!

But what if a hard, painful lump suddenly appears on your foot without any clear and obvious cause?

I have found a soft lump on top of my foot, what is it?

This is likely a Ganglionic Cyst consisting of a fluid-filled sac, soft to the touch and commonly tendinous – sited on the tendons – or articular – located on the joints. If the clinic diagnoses a soft lump on top of your foot, don’t worry. There is a protective sheath surrounding our tendons and also a synovial capsule encasing the joints in our body. Synovial fluid lubricates and nourishes internal structures promoting good health and flexibility, supporting movement. If they leak, it can result in a soft lump frequently on the top of the foot near the ankle. The fluid may be drained but will usually just reoccur. These cysts can be permanently surgically removed. Many people leave them alone if they are not interfering with footwear or there is no cosmetic imperative.

What are the possible origins of a hard lump on top of my foot?

A very frequent occurrence is that this development is an arthritis lump. Sudden in onset, they are both hard and painful in the early stages until the bone remodels. Arthritis impacts joints in the toes, especially the base of the big toe. This creates a large, ugly, bony lump. Arthritis is not to be confused with bunions which also favours this joint. Entitled Hallux Valgus, rather confusingly, they are caused by arthritis but also feature other physical triggers peculiar to the condition, such as badly fitting shoes.

They are a noted consequence of cerebral palsy. Arthritis can affect any joint in the foot whereas bunions are ordinarily confined to just one. A hard lump on top of the foot is therefore usually, by definition, some sort of disturbance to the bone, a bony deformity or variance of growth with an external driver. The usual course of action is anti-inflammatory therapy which may be given via injection and steroid-based medication.

What is Gout?

This ailment is often a consideration for medics when diagnosing painful feet. Portrayed as a somewhat comical disorder of overweight middle-aged men with a rich diet and too much alcohol, this illness is caused by an excess of uric acid in the blood – hyperuricemia – due to the inability of the kidneys to filter efficiently. Routinely, the joint of the big toe is affected and it is horrendously painful although it can actually impact on joints anywhere in the body. A simple blood test will confirm the presence of the disease.

I have a small lump on top of my foot with some pain

A likely candidate for your problem could be Plantar Fibromas. These are hard lumps but not bony rather they are fibrous, solid nodules formed within the ligaments. Usually small, they may grow if untreated and can be painful. Adjustments to shoes, orthotic inserts and steroid injections will manage them but nothing will cause them to disappear totally other than surgery.

The small lump on top of your foot could be a new bone spur if you are experiencing pain. Damaged or traumatised bone will remodel by generating extra growth and this remains uncomfortable until the process is complete. Possible originating causes include repetitive strain from abnormal loading due to gait irregularities or even inappropriate shoes.

What should I do if I find a painful lump on the top of my foot?

Lumps and swellings on the feet rarely resolve spontaneously and require an assessment from a qualified medical professional. Sometimes people panic and become anxious thinking the lump may be a cancerous mass.

A painful lump on top of the foot is rarely cancer; there are far more predictable scenarios but a biopsy can confirm this. Seek medical advice in the first instance and in the interim, over the counter Ibuprofen will assist in reducing swelling and inflammation.

Adjust your shoes to accommodate the lump and avoid putting direct pressure on it. Minimise activity which is painful or makes the foot sore. A clear prognosis will allow you to determine the appropriate treatment plan.



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