What’s that Lump on your Foot?

If you ever notice a small balloon-like bump on your foot, it’s likely that you’ve developed a ganglion cyst. The word “cyst” tends to give people pause, but in this case it’s nothing to be alarmed about. Ganglion cysts are non-cancerous.

A ganglion cyst can appear at a joint (the place where two bones meet) or on a tendon or ligament. It may originate deep in your foot or just under the skin. Where do cysts come from? Some source of inflammation – perhaps you’ve been wearing shoes that don’t fit well or you’ve been practicing the same kind of exercise for a while, putting stress on the same area of the foot.


A common symptom of a ganglion cyst is a noticeable lump, occurring on the top of the foot or on a toe joint. Lumps are typically round or oval in shape and will vary in size, from pea-sized to an inch or more in diameter. You may have pain and redness at the site of the cyst. Since the cysts are filled with fluid, you may be able to compress it a bit and feel its sponginess.

Pain, tingling, or numbness can occur when a cyst is big enough or in a position to press down on a nerve.

What to do about a ganglion cyst?

  1. Report any unusual growths to the expert podiatrists at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists in Montgomery, AL.       Dr. Michael L. Rosenberg and Dr. Heidi M. Christie might recommend a wait-and-see approach. Sometimes, these types of growths disappear on their own.
  2. Dr. Rosenberg or Dr. Christie can assess your foot and shoes and recommend over-the-counter inserts or prescribe custom orthotics to relieve pressure on the area.
  3. If the cyst becomes painful or big enough to cause difficulty wearing shoes at all, our doctors can insert a small needle into the cyst and withdraw the fluid. Removing the fluid is followed by another wait-and-see period, during which you and the doctors monitor the area. Unfortunately, ganglion cysts do have a tendency to grow back.
  4. If the cyst is giving you a lot of pain, or if it recurs and is just too unsightly for you to tolerate, then a referral for surgery may be necessary to permanently remove it.

If you suspect a cyst, keep an eye on it, and make an appointment with us if it gets bigger or interferes with your normal foot functioning. Our number in Montgomery is (334) 396-3668.