Bump on the Bottom of Your Foot: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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A bump on the bottom of your foot can result from a variety of causes, including infections, joint problems, and skin conditions. It often leads to pain and discomfort with standing and walking. Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause.

This article will describe the various conditions that can cause a bump on the bottom of the foot, how it is diagnosed, and treatment options. 

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Causes and Treatment

A bump on the bottom of the foot can result from a variety of different causes. Some are benign while others are related to more serious medical conditions.

Uneven Weight Distribution From Diabetes

Charcot foot is a rare condition characterized by a large, bony lump that forms on the bottom of the foot. It can develop as a serious complication of diabetes caused by chronic inflammation. A Charcot foot causes pain and swelling at the bottom of the foot and increases your risk of developing diabetic ulcers.

Treatment for a Charcot foot that develops from uneven weight distribution of the feet involves putting the affected foot in a cast and avoiding weight-bearing activities on that foot for several months. During this time, you will have to use crutches or a wheelchair to move around.

Gradual progression to normal weight-bearing with prescription footwear or a CROW (Charcot Restraint Orthotic Walker) will begin when your symptoms decrease. In cases that do not improve, surgery may be performed to remove bone spurs (bony projections along bone edges), increase the length of the Achilles tendon (band of fibrous tissue connecting the calf muscle and heel bone) to improve the alignment of the foot and ankle, and fuse bones of the foot together for better stability.

Calluses

Calluses are areas of toughened skin that develop on regions of the body that are subjected to repeated pressure, including the bottom of the feet. Foot calluses can develop from wearing tight shoes, uneven weight distribution due to high or low foot arches, and from walking barefoot.

Calluses can be treated by exfoliating hardened skin and moisturizing to decrease skin dryness. Avoiding tight-fitting shoes and walking barefoot can also decrease the likelihood of developing calluses, as well as using shoe orthotics (specially made inserts) to correct foot alignment. Surgery to correct the deformity and prevent the callus from coming back may also be needed.

Limited Movement in Big Toe Joint

Limited movement in the big toe joint, called hallux limitus, can cause pain at the base of the big toe joint from stiffness and increased pressure. This lack of movement can cause a bone spur to form. This can result in a bump on the top of the toe or a bony enlargement at the side of the big toe called a bunion. Imbalanced movement and pressure throughout the joints of the foot may also cause calluses to form on the balls of the feet.

Resting your feet, applying ice, and stretching your big toe can help decrease pain and improve the mobility of your big toe joint. Shoe orthotics or padding can be inserted into shoes to help improve foot alignment.

If joint movement is severely limited, a surgical procedure called a cheilectomy may be performed to remove bone spurs within the big toe joint to improve mobility.

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema is a skin condition that causes small fluid-filled blisters on the hands and feet, which leads to skin cracking, scaling, and flaking. These blisters can be itchy and painful but typically resolve over time. The exact cause of dyshidrotic dermatitis is not fully known.

To manage dyshidrotic dermatitis, avoid exposure to known irritants like metals and harsh chemicals, and treat the blisters with topical or oral steroids to decrease inflammation.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are growths that form on the bottom of the feet from an infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They most often affect children, adolescents, and immunocompromised individuals. Plantar warts cause pain and swelling under the skin that worsens when applying pressure to the affected areas of the feet.

Most plantar warts resolve within two years and may heal on their own, but treating them can prevent the warts from spreading to others. Treatments like topical salicylic acid, cantharidin topical medication, and cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen can also help break down plantar warts.

To prevent a recurrence, keep your feet clean and dry. Also, avoid sharing socks, shoes, and towels, as well as walking barefoot in communal showers and locker rooms. Be sure to also clean your shower or bathtub with bleach after a recent wart exposure .

Plantar Fibromas

A plantar fibroma is a benign tumor that forms on the arch of the foot. If multiple nodules form, the condition is referred to as plantar fibromatosis or Ledderhose disease. Plantar fibromas can swell, causing painful tightening of the plantar fascia (band of tissue that connects the heel bone to your toes), which increases with weight-bearing activities.

Steroid injections into the feet can help decrease swelling and inflammation while shoe orthotics can help improve foot and ankle alignment. Surgery to remove the growths may be needed if they cause significant pain and difficulty walking.

Bursitis

Bursitis occurs when the fluid-filled sacs (bursa) that cushion joints become irritated and inflamed, causing painful swelling. It can occur in the feet, most often between the metatarsal bones of the forefoot, the bones at the base of the toes, or those at the base of the heel.

Foot bursitis occurs from repetitive stress to the bones of the feet from running and jumping, unsupportive footwear, or foot deformities, which can cause painful bumps on the bottom of the feet.

Treatment for foot bursitis includes steroid injections, stretching, anti-inflammatory medication, ice, shoe orthotics, and rest from aggravating activities.

Haglund’s Deformity

A Haglund’s deformity is an enlargement on the back of the heel bone that can cause irritation and lead to the development of bursitis. It is often called a “pump bump” because it can develop from repetitive friction and pressure from wearing tight pump-style shoes or other footwear with rigid backs. This includes ice skates and men’s dress shoes. High foot arches and tight Achilles tendons also increase the likelihood of developing a Haglund’s deformity.

A Haglund’s deformity can be treated by avoiding tight footwear, using heel pads to decrease friction when wearing shoes, getting steroid injections, taking anti-inflammatory medication, icing, and exercising the calf muscles. Severe cases may require surgery to remove the irritated heel bone.

Cysts or Benign Soft Tissue Tumors

Benign cysts or soft tissue tumors, such as lipomas, can spontaneously develop on the bottom of the feet. These growths generally are not harmful.

Benign cysts or soft tissue tumors usually do not require treatment but may need to be surgically removed if they compress surrounding nerves or ligaments.

Diagnosis of Bump on Bottom of Foot

A diagnosis for the cause of a bump on the bottom of your foot starts with a physical examination. Your healthcare provider will ask you about how long you have noticed the bump, whether it has changed in size, if it is painful, and whether it is aggravated by certain activities.

Diagnostic imaging methods like X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs), or ultrasound can be used to determine the cause of the bump. If your healthcare provider thinks the bump may be related to a skin condition, a biopsy of the affected area, in which a sample of tissue is removed for examination in a lab, may be performed to test for an infection, eczema, or sarcoma (a group of cancers that starts in the bones and soft tissues).

You may be referred to a specialist if you have foot bumps that are deep to the skin, swollen, painful, and increasing in size to determine if they are cancerous.

Prognosis

Your prognosis (likely outlook for recovery) will depend on the underlying cause of the bump. Conditions like plantar warts, bursitis, and Haglund’s deformities that develop from easy-to-change lifestyle factors have a good prognosis for recovery. More involved conditions may require more aggressive treatment. Initiating early treatment for any cause of a bump on the bottom of your foot is important for the best possible outcomes.

Summary

A bump on the bottom of your foot can result from a variety of different causes, including uneven weight distribution linked to diabetes, calluses, limited big toe joint movement, dyshidrotic eczema, plantar warts, plantar fibromas, bursitis, Haglund’s deformity, and cysts or benign soft tissue tumors.

Treatment varies depending on the underlying cause. It can include simple lifestyle changes such as wearing proper-fitting and supportive footwear, or more involved treatment options, such as steroid injections and surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about any bumps you notice on the bottom of your feet to make sure you do not have an infection or a more serious medical condition.

A Word From Verywell 

Bumps on the bottom of your feet can result from benign occurrences or from more serious medical problems. If you notice a bump on the bottom of your foot, it is always best to see your healthcare provider to accurately determine the underlying cause and initiate appropriate treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a hard spot on the bottom of your foot?

    A hard spot on the bottom of your foot can result from a variety of different causes, including uneven weight distribution linked to diabetes, calluses, dyshidrotic eczema, plantar warts, plantar fibromas, synovial sarcomas, and cysts or benign soft tissue tumors.

  • Should I be worried about a lump on my foot?

    You should be concerned about a bump on your foot if it is deep to the skin, swollen, painful, and increasing in size, and should seek timely medical attention from your healthcare provider to determine a diagnosis.

  • Can a plantar fibroma go away?

    Plantar fibromas generally do not resolve on their own and may require surgery for removal.

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12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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