Bump on Bottom of Foot

Lumps refer to the emergence of localized swellings on our body; they can manifest themselves anywhere from the top of the head to the tip of the toe. Generally, people pay more attention to the sort of lumps that appear on the head, due to the proximity to our critical organs. But a hard bump on bottom of foot is just as deserving of your attention because of the part it plays in terms of your overall well-being. In this article, we will examine those bumps on bottom of feet, spanning from toe to heel.

1. Lumps Appearing on Bottom of the Big Toe

This describes the area of skin that has become thick and hard after being subjected to continual pressure or friction (as a result of walking or running). Sometimes, a hard lump can appear just beneath this callused area at the bottom of the big toe. It is most likely caused by the restriction in movement of the big toe joint as we engage in walking or running. Just imagine this: if the joint is restricted in its movement, the big toe joint will have difficulty bending upwards as we lift our heels off the ground in the course of walking or running. The natural result is, of course, that excessive pressure is applied onto the bottom of the big toe. This would in turn lead to further growth of the bone in the affected area and the creation of even more pressure on this trouble spot. One other explanation that describes the condition is that there is a new or extra bone or piece of cartilage surrounding the region. Irrespective of what it is, the root cause is when the big toe joint is deprived of the necessary room for movement; the affected area will become enlarged and painful, and a bump in bottom of feet is observed.

Diabetic patients should be particularly corset mindful about this condition. If this is left unchecked over time, the additional pressure could damage the joint, and, more seriously, ulcerate it. You can conduct the following simple test to determine if there is sufficient room for your big toe joint to move:

  • Place yourself upright on top of a flat surface.
  • Get a person to try to bend your big toe upward.

What effectively you will be looking for is the movement of the joint on the part where the toe connects to the foot, not the joint right in the middle of the toe. When there is difficulty in bringing the big toe upwards, this is a problem with the required motion. One important instruction in this test is that you have to apply pressure on the bottom of the feet (which explains why you have to be standing up). If you do this sitting down, you might get a sense of false comfort as your toe is likely to bend more easily without the extra pressure.

If you don't do anything about restricted movement of this joint, it could go on to develop an arthritic condition to your big toe. A soft bone could emerge and envelop the top of this joint. When this happens, it is referred to as hallux limitus or hallux rigidus.

There are two ways to treat the painful lesion around the affected area:

  • corrective approach by employing a functional foot orthosis or
  • surgical intervention to remove the hallux limitus.

A note of caution: it is unlikely the surgical option represents a permanent fix as the removal of the lesion on the bottom of the toe is just a temporary solution. If you do not make an effort to remedy the root cause, the original problem will stay with you.

2. Lumps in the Ball of the Foot

Sometimes we find bumps in the ball of the foot. They are just as painful as those below the big toe, but chances are that they are the result of thickening or hardening of the skin as in the previous case. The major culprit in this case is the long bone at the back of the toe (commonly known as the metatarsal bone). If there has been some sort of misalignment of the arrangement of such bones, the likelihood of one or more becoming disproportionately large is very real. The result is that it will upset the harmonious distribution of our weight across the bottom of the foot. Due to the uneven pressure applied, some areas of the foot will be made to absorb more weight than others. The presence of additional pressure can cause a callus or skin thickening. Again, diabetic patients should pay attention as in the long term, the skin can become ulcerated and it will be exposed to the risk of infection. Inserting a pad into your shoes could easily fix this problem. Or you can have a customized insole or orthotic in your shoes as well.

3. Lumps in the Arch of the Foot (aka Plantar Fibromas)

Within the edges of the bottom of the feet, firm and nodular masses can sometimes emerge. They can appear in singular or en masse. The name 'plantar fibromas' is used to describe this phenomenon. They are non-cancerous and the tumor grows inside a ligament in the arch of the foot. Over time, they often grow in size and cause pain when a sufferer engages in walking or running. The root cause of this condition is yet to be conclusively determined. Some experts attribute this phenomenon to damage to the tendon, while some link it to use of the drug Dilantin. Overall, one in ten patients will also exhibit similar lumps in the palms of the hands (a condition known as Dupuytren's Contracture).

Again, padding is a simple but effective treatment option to even out the pressure on the foot. An appropriate foot orthotic could work wonderfully to take the strain off the plantar fascia ligament, and it is also alleged to shrink the fibromas in some cases. Most experts would discourage the option of injecting cortisone; it does not demonstrate significant improvement and there is also suspicion that it could even prompt the mass to enlarge or spread. Surgical intervention is sometimes necessary to remove the plantar fascia. However, note that a simplistic excision that does not comprehensively get rid of the entire ligament will often mean that recurrence of the mass is a real possibility. If you are contemplating having surgery, then be prepared to use a functional foot orthotic immediately after the operation. It is a good way to compensate for the loss of the plantar fascia and replace its effect on foot function.