If you’ve ever felt and poked around your feet, you may have noticed that
feet can be kind of bumpy. Not as bumpy, perhaps, as a mountain road that
has just come through winter, but there’s definitely a few spots that feel
pretty prominent, like the bones in your ankle, or your big toe joint.
Sometimes, your feet can become even more bumpy than usual. Foot bumps are
often made up of bony prominences in your foot. They have several causes or
origins: they may be congenital (extra bones in the foot usually form
during infancy or childhood) or they may come about because of deformities
in the foot or injury. They can also show up pretty much anywhere (kind of
like that person you’re trying to avoid), so the top, bottom, inside and
outside of your foot are all susceptible.
These foot bumps aren’t always problematic. In fact, many people may
experience no discomfort or other problems from them whatsoever.
Unfortunately, a few bumps have turned down a dark path, and cause you as
many tribulations as possible. Some can interfere with the proper function
of your joint (an extra bone may be embedded in the joint, or the bones
forming the joint may have grown), or may cause tendons to become weak.
They might make it harder to find shoes that fit (shoe designers don’t
often take bunions into account, for instance), or might simply swell up
and hurt like the dickens.
Following are some common bumps (or bump-related problems) that are made up
of bony protrusions (although this list should by no means be taken as
- Hallux rigidus – Involves a bony prominence of the big toe joint
- Accessory Ossicles (Extra Bones) – These small extra bones can show up
numerous places, although a common one is the accessory navicular (on
the inside of the foot). It may weaken the tendon holding up your
arch, causing your foot to become flattened.
- Bunions – May be caused by weakness in your soft tissues. The tip of the big toe begins to drift over to the second toe, making a bump when
the joint (where the big toe joins with the foot) juts out. These
bumps can rub against shoes and become quite painful.
- Tailor’s Bunion (or Bunionette) – These are similar to bunions, but
form on the fifth toe (the pinky toe) at the joint where it meets the
Foot bumps, if painful, are often associated with a few different symptoms.
These may include inflammation around the bump (redness, swelling, heat,
and pain), particularly if the bump rubs against shoes or is under pressure
when you walk. Bony bumps are usually firm to the touch.
Some may affect the structure or motion of your foot. Accessory ossicles
(like the accessory navicular) may interfere with tendon function. Bony
bumps may also cause limitations in the movement of a joint. For instance,
when affected by hallux limitus or hallux rigidus (joint problems in the
big toe), you may find it difficult to move your big toe upward (at the
joint where the toe connects to the foot) while standing. This will affect
the way you walk, which in turn will make the bony growth in the joint more
and more prominent, further exacerbating the problem.
Your podiatrist knows much about the ways of bumps (both the innocent and
the guilty ones) and has many methods to determine what your bump is, what
caused it, and how best to treat it. He or she will likely ask you about
the symptoms you’ve experienced, and will probably perform a physical
examination of your foot. Your bump may get prodded or pressed (and you’ve
got to admit-you’ve probably done a bit of prodding and pressing of it
yourself). Your podiatrist may also use several methods to see inside your
foot to get a better look at the internal structure of your bump. X-rays
are often used, or your podiatrist may suggest an MRI or other imaging
The course of treatment your podiatrist recommends will really depend on
the type of foot bump you have, what the suspected cause is, and your
overall medical condition. However, some common treatments of foot bumps
include padding the bump to relieve pressure from shoes and/or walking,
orthotics (prescription shoe inserts), a change in shoe-wear, and anti-
inflammatory treatments (usually includes medication, immobilization
through casts or splints, ice, and prescribed periods of rest). In some
cases surgery may be necessary to remove the bump and improve the function
of your foot.