A Wichita Podiatrist Explains Foot Growths and Cancers

Many people are surprised to learn that our feet’s skin and bones become inflicted with various lesions and tumors just like any other part of the human body. At Central Kansas Podiatry Associates, Dr. Weaver and our team work diligently to offer patients proper education on foot growths and cancers, and provide accurate diagnoses and effective treatment solutions in every case. Here’s what you should know. 

Foot Growths and Cancers

While many of us experience various forms of growths on our feet, full onset of foot and ankle cancer is actually quite rare, as precancerous lesions can be removed before they turn cancerous. Here are some of the common types of conditions we often encounter.

Giant Cell Tumors

Giant cell tumors are benign (non-cancerous), firm, irregular masses that form on the toes, top or side of the foot, or deep inside the foot. Giant cell tumors grow in the sheath that protects the tendon. They’re often painful, as they slowly grow larger over time. 


These are overgrowths of bone and cartilage. It occurs underneath the toenail when benign bone tumors form in that area, typically after injury. Osteochondromas are most common in children and young adults, accounting for approximately 50 percent of all benign bone tumors. 

Osteochondromas usually don’t cause severe pain, but chronic discomfort may result if they irritate surrounding tissue. If these growths deform the toenail or cause it to become ingrown, they can be surgically removed. Osteochondromas can become a recurring condition and on rare occasions, turn malignant.

Plantar Fibromas

These growths develop on the foot's plantar—or bottom surface—in the same area of the foot where plantar warts develop. These benign tumors form in plantar fascia tissue, whereas plantar warts form on the skin. Plantar fibromas that worsen or become painful may require surgery to eliminate them.

Neoplastic Disorders

Neoplastic disorders are various types of benign or possibly malignant neoplasms or tumors that develop from abnormal tissue growth.

Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is a type of cancer that causes red, purple, or brown lesions on the skin due to abnormal tissue growth. The disease can cause swelling or pain at the lesion sites or result in no symptoms other than noticeable discolorations. If the cancer spreads to the lungs or digestive tract, additional symptoms include restricted breathing and bleeding.

In most cases, KS advances slowly except in patients diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. 

Malignant Melanoma

Since your feet are covered most of the time, they’re often overlooked when screening for skin cancer. This condition develops from exposure to the sun, harsh chemicals, or radiation. It’s also possible to develop foot cancer if someone is prone to moles or cancerous lesions on other parts of the body, or has a family history of skin cancer.  

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Weaver right away if you notice the following symptoms of melanoma on your feet: 

  • An unusual mole with asymmetrical edges
  • A black or brown vertical line under a toenail
  • New spot or growth in the area of a foot injury
  • Pinkish-red spots or growths
  • A sore that heals but then returns 
  • A wound or diabetic ulcer that won’t heal

Early detection is crucial for curing skin cancer. Malignant melanomas make up over 60 percent of deaths due to skin cancer, even though this type of cancer is accountable for only one percent of all skin cancers—about three percent of melanomas form on the feet.

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