Bone Tumors of the Feet


We often think of tumors as being related to cancer, which can cause a lot of worrying. However, a bone tumor is actually any abnormal growth of cells within a bone and can be either cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). Nonetheless, any bone tumor can replace healthy bone tissue, making them weak. That’s why it is not surprising to find out that you have a bone tumor after developing a fracture from even a small injury.

Since our feet and ankles have bones in them, though rare, appearance of a bone tumor is a possibility. A bump, pain (sharp or a dull ache), swelling, numbness, tingling, and/or a fracture (as mentioned above) in a foot bone are possible symptoms of a bone tumor. Benign tumors can be painless or painful, but malignant tumors are usually painful. Painless lumps should be okay, but it’s best to have our podiatrists assess them.

Again, bone tumors tend to be rare in the feet, but the majority of them tend to be benign. The exact cause of bone tumors are unknown, but seem to be related to genetics or injuries to the bones.

75-85% of the time, foot bone tumors are benign. Common benign foot bone tumors include:

  • Osteochondroma – Typically affecting teenagers and young adults, the often-painless tumors grow on the long tubular bones.
  • Enchondroma – Adults can develop these usually painless tumors, especially after an injury to the midfoot.
  • Giant Cell Tumor – A painful, hard, misshapen lump can form close to a tendon. It grows slowly and can affect nearby bones and weaken them.

Common malignant types of tumors found in the feet include:

  • Chondrosarcoma – This type of tumor is usually not found on the feet, but when they are, they can look like enchondromas and are not always painful – making them go unnoticed. 
  • Ewing’s sarcoma – A slow-growing tumor in children and young adults, it eventually causes pain and swelling.

Depending on whether or not the foot bone tumor is cancerous, treatment will change. For painless benign tumors, there may be no necessary action. However, painful tumors may need medication or surgery to remove them. For malignant bone tumors, it may require chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of the three.

Have a strange bump or lump on your feet? Don’t panic. It’s rare for it to be a cancerous bone tumor. However, come in for an assessment with our podiatrists to be sure about what is going on with your feet or ankles. Make an appointment with us at The Podiatry Group. Our podiatrists, Dr. Mark E. Reiner, Dr. Michael A. Haughey, Dr. William G. Coates, and Dr. Erik D. Rosenlof can perform a thorough assessment at our Jonesboro, AR office to treat your feet and ankles and keep them strong.