A bump on the top of the foot may appear if a person injures their foot. Injuries can cause temporary swelling. However, if there is no obvious cause, the bump could be a symptom of another condition.
Some potential causes of a bump on the top of the foot include:
- ganglion cysts
- bone spurs, or osteophytes
- in rare cases, cancer
This article looks at the symptoms and appearance of a bump on the top of the foot, some potential causes, treatments, home remedies, and when to see a doctor.
Bumps on the top of the feet can vary in size, color, and hardness, depending on what caused them.
A person with a bump on their foot may notice:
- pain or discomfort
- areas of rough skin, or calluses
- swelling or flushing
- difficulty wearing tight shoes
- difficulty walking
Sometimes, however, a bump can form with no accompanying symptoms. Taking note of how the bump looks and feels will help a doctor make a diagnosis.
The following sections discuss the potential causes of a bump on the top of the foot in more detail.
Ganglion cysts are harmless, fluid-filled bumps that often occur near joints and tendons, such as those in the hands and feet.
Often, the only symptom is a noticeable lump. However, ganglion cysts may also cause an ache if they push on a joint or burning or tingling if they press on a nerve.
A doctor can diagnose a ganglion cyst by conducting a physical examination.
In many cases, a ganglion cyst does not require treatment. However, if it is especially large, is painful, or inhibits movement, a doctor may drain the fluid or suggest removal surgery.
Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are small, bony growths that occur near damaged joints. Sometimes, they can appear on the top of the foot and become visible through the skin.
A common cause of bone spurs is osteoarthritis.
A person with a bone spur on their foot may notice:
- discomfort or pain from wearing shoes
- limited movement
- calluses or blisters around the affected area
A doctor can diagnose bone spurs by carrying out an X-ray.
Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) may help ease pain or discomfort that arises due to a bone spur. If the spur is a result of arthritis, managing the condition may reduce any joint pain or stiffness.
A bunion, or hallux valgus, is a growth of bone that appears on the side of the foot, usually at the base of the big toe. Smaller bunions, or “bunionettes,” can also form at the bottom of the little toe.
The condition is most common among older females, but it also occurs in young females and males.
- a bump on the foot
- a toe that is out of alignment and leans toward the other toes
- pain and swelling
- difficulty walking
- discomfort when wearing tight shoes
- calluses on or around the bunion
- symptoms that gradually worsen over time
A doctor can diagnose bunions by conducting a physical examination or an X-ray.
Nonsurgical treatments include:
- wearing looser shoes
- icing swollen areas
- padding the bunion
- wearing a toe splint while sleeping
- taking OTC pain medication
Undergoing surgery can also reverse a bunion’s progression. However, in some cases, the bunion may return.
Bursa are fluid-filled sacs that sit between the bones of a joint. They allow bones to move in opposite directions. When one of these sacs becomes inflamed, it is called bursitis.
There is one bursa in the foot, located between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone.
A person with bursitis of the foot may experience:
- pain, especially when walking or running
- intense pain when standing on tiptoes
- warm, flushed skin
Treatments for bursitis include:
- wearing spacious shoes
- wearing padded socks and orthotics
- taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
- undergoing physical therapy
- receiving cortisone injections
- having it drained
Bursitis sometimes occurs due to excessive rubbing and strain on the Achilles tendon. Addressing the underlying cause may prevent bursitis from coming back.
Gout is a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid. Gout causes sudden severe pain, often in the big toe. This condition usually affects one joint at a time.
- burning pain
- tenderness and warmth
A person is
- are male
- have overweight
- drink alcohol
- eat a diet high in purines and fructose
- have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, or poor kidney function
A doctor can diagnose gout by conducting a physical examination, X-rays, and laboratory tests.
A person can manage and reduce gout flares by:
- taking OTC pain medications
- reaching a moderate weight
- drinking less alcohol
- eating a diet low in purines
- protecting the joints
- managing any other health conditions
A lipoma is a noncancerous growth of fatty tissue that forms under the skin.
Lipomas are typically:
- soft and rubbery
- movable when pushed
When lipomas develop on the foot, they usually develop on the bottom of the foot. However, a lipoma can develop anywhere on the body.
Lipomas usually do not require treatment unless they become large. If this happens, a surgeon can remove the lipoma.
If a person has injured their foot, taking OTC pain medications and resting may help. However, a bump that is due to a chronic condition such as gout may require ongoing management.
For symptom relief, a person can try the following methods at home:
- For pain: Temporarily taking OTC pain medication and NSAIDs can help. People should check with a pharmacist before giving these medications to children. Also, some may not be suitable for pregnant women.
- For swelling: Applying ice may help reduce local swelling and inflammation in cases of gout, bunions, bursitis, or arthritis.
- For difficulty walking: A person with a long-term condition may need to ensure that their shoes fit well and have space to accommodate the bump. They may also need walking aids to help with mobility.
A bump on the top of the foot can cause pain and discomfort. If a person is having difficulty walking or the bump has reduced their quality of life, they should see a doctor.
If a bump on the top of the foot is getting larger or more painful, it is best to see a doctor to discuss possible complications and rule out any underlying health conditions.
The feet are very complex structures, and a number of different factors can lead to the development of a bump on the top of the foot. A doctor will be able to make a diagnosis and recommend the right treatment.
In the meantime, people may be able to manage their symptoms with OTC pain medication, ice, and comfortable shoes.