If you’re currently experiencing foot pain, you know how irritating and inconvenient it can feel at times. Regardless of how active you are throughout the day, having a bump or source of discomfort on your foot can seriously affect your routine. 

If you’ve recently noticed a bump on the outside of your foot, we do recommend speaking with a qualified medical professional instead of relying on a self-diagnosis. From experience, you could be suffering from one of a number of painful conditions. Here, we’ll list five common causes of foot bumps and explain a little bit more about each of them:

1. Bunions

In many instances, a large, bony protrusion on the side of the foot by the big toe will turn out to be a bunion. These hard lumps can come about because of genetics, foot trauma, arthritis, or even ill-fitting footwear. Bunions will typically get worse over time and can cause a number of related foot issues –– particularly without treatment. While many people live with bunions, they can become very painful, red and swollen.

2. Tailor’s Bunions

As opposed to “normal bunions,” which appear on the side of the foot by the big toe, tailor’s bunions occur on the opposite side –– by the little toe. Besides their placement, tailor’s bunions, or “bunionettes” as they’re often called, are basically the same as a typical bunion, and caused by the same conditions. 

3. Arthritis

Arthritis in the foot may cause pain, irritation, and in some cases, certain types of swelling that may cause a bump on your foot. Rheumatoid nodules are very small, but firm growths that can form around nerves affected by arthritis. 

4. Gout

Gout itself is a form of arthritis that develops due to a high amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. Gout is often characterized by tenderness, pain, or swelling of the joints –– most notably around the big toe. 

5. Noncancerous Growths

Individuals may also experience several types of non-cancerous growths on the side, top, or arches of their feet. These bumps may be soft-fluid filled sacs that can cause pain, irritation, or numbness. Or, they may not contribute to any discomfort at all. 

Some noncancerous foot-growths include: 

  • Ganglion Cysts –– small lumps that can cause tingling or numbness in the foot.
  • Bursitis –– inflamed sacs near foot joints.
  • Lipomas –– noncancerous growths of fatty tissue.
  • Sebaceous Cysts –– small lumps that form as a result of overgrown hair follicles or blocked glands.
  • Plantar Fibromas –– hard, benign nodules that may appear on the arch of the foot.

In most instances, a medical professional will be able to remove and treat all of the above conditions with few difficulties. It’s rare for malignant tumors to form on the foot, but it’s not entirely unheard of. 


All in all, if you notice any unusual bumps on your feet, you should get them checked out by a medical professional.

For decades, Northwest Surgery Center has been a pioneer in treating bunions, heel spurs, and hammertoes. Our team of highly-skilled professionals can help you identify foot-pain problems and remove painful bunions so you can get back to your regular life. Most of our patients require only one surgery, and few have to miss time from work as a result of our minimally-invasive techniques. Contact us here to learn more or to discuss your treatment options.