What is this bump on the top of my foot?

Many times, people notice a large lump on the top of their foot.  This lump can cause redness, irritation, and sometimes a dull pain or ache when wearing shoes.  You many notice this lump is fluid or jellylike and seems to grow and shrink from time to time.  You may be confused as to what caused this lump, as you cannot seem to remember bumping your foot, dropping anything on it, or causing your foot any harm.


This lump is typically known as a ganglion cyst and is a very common soft tissue growth.  It is a sac filled with a jellylike fluid that originates from tissue covering tendons or joints.  The exact cause of ganglion cysts is unknown but they seem to arise following an accident to the foot.  The accident may be so long ago or so little in pain that it is not remembered or noticed.


To diagnose a ganglion cyst, a podiatrist will perform an examination of the foot.  They may press on the lump making sure it is freely movable underneath the skin.  They may also shine a light through the bump or remove a small portion of the fluid to send for lab studies.  Your doctor may take an x-ray or additional imaging studies.


Since a ganglion cyst poses no harm treatment may just consist of monitoring the area.  If the cyst does interfere with daily activities or cause pain, simple steps may be taken to modify your shoes to prevent irrational.  The cyst may be aspirated to remove the fluid in a simple office procedure.  However, many times removing the fluid is only a temporary fix as the fluid may return.  If these treatments do not work, the cyst may need to be surgically removed.