Lumps and Bumps

What are Lumps and Bumps Which Affect the Foot?

Lumps and bumps on the foot are typically known as Ganglions, cysts, bone bumps or nodules and they can often be troublesome when they appear on the foot and can fluctuate in size.

They can be exacerbated by footwear rubbing on the bumps which is uncomfortable for the sufferer. Thankfully there are a number of conservative and surgical options available.

What Causes Foot Lumps and Bumps?

Often the initial cause of the swelling is unclear but sometimes it is associated with trauma, though occasionally lumps and bumps can appear for no obvious reason.

What are the Treatment Options for Foot Lumps and Bumps?

Treatment depends on the level and frequency of pain.

Non-surgical Treatment

Wearing a wider shoe can make a difference but this is not always practical. Insoles are generally unhelpful. You might wish to try a ‘puncture and drainage’ outpatient procedure, or a steroid injection into the cyst but the evidence is that this is unlikely to be a permanent cure.

Surgical Treatment

Nodules on your foot such as small fluid filled sacs known as ganglions or cysts can interfere with a joint or tendon and if painful can be surgically removed.

What Happens During Surgery?

During surgery, usually the ganglion is carefully excised from the surrounding tissue via a relatively small incision. Sometimes, there is an underlying bony prominence which may need to be removed and your surgeon will have discussed this with you.

The operation usually takes around 15-30 minutes. The removed piece of tissue is sent to a laboratory for testing – this is standard practice.

Are there risks or side-effects following surgery to remove ganglions or cysts?

As with any medical procedure there are risks which Mr. Kannegieter will always thoroughly explain to you prior to your treatment, so you can be informed every step of the way.

The main risks following surgery are:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Specific complications of ganglion/cyst surgery:

  • In a small percentage of patients, the operation is unsuccessful and the outcome can be painful.
  • Increased swelling and pain are more likely to occur if you are too active in the post-operative period.
  • Recurrence of the ganglion/cyst is a recognised problem.
  • There may be some numbness around the surgical site.
  • Your foot may develop scar tissue, which in some people can cause a bruise-like discomfort around the operation site and this may last for months.
  • There may some damage to other tissues of the foot when removing the soft tissue swelling. Any damage is usually temporary.

What Happens After Surgery?

After surgery you will be transferred to the ward. The nurses will advise you on post-operative medication and one of the team will see you to answer any questions and discharge you from hospital.

You should not drive after foot surgery and should be accompanied home by a responsible adult.  You will be advised of your follow up appointment date, either on the day or by letter in the post.

Mr. Kannegieter has years of experience treating ganglions and cysts and can explain your treatment options in more detail during your consultation.


Mr. Kannegieter has put together this useful PDF explaining what to expect from Ganglion or Cyst soft tissue surgery.

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