What's this lump on my toe?
July 23, 2007 10:35 AM   Subscribe

What is this weird painless lump at the base of my toe?

In the last year, I've noticed that I have a small-ish (maybe 1/4") hard lump at the base of my middle toe on my right toe. It's on the side, so basically between the 2nd and 3rd toe (counting from the big toe as toe 1). It doesn't hurt at all, isn't discolored, and doesn't seem to affect my walking. I don't have anything like this on any other toe of either foot. It's possible that it's gotten slightly larger since I noticed it but not significantly. What could it be?

Yes, I'll ask a doctor about it but since it's painless and not causing any discomfort I wonder if it's okay to wait until the next time I'm in there. It seems sort of silly to make an appointment just for this. If it matters, I'm 39, female, and in good health.
posted by otherwordlyglow to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd say Plantar wart, but they apparently occur more often on the sole. A dermatologist might be your best bet.
posted by jquinby at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2007

posted by blue_beetle at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2007

It may be a ganglion cyst. I had one on my wrist, and although it wasn't painful, it grew larger throughout the period of a year and began to cause some numbness.

You might want to go to the doctor to check on it, just to figure out what it is at least.
posted by wilde at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2007

I agree it's probably a cyst. Cysts usually feel like they're far under the skin--you can push the skin around on top of it and the lump stays put, as opposed to warts which usually feel like they're part of the skin. (Insert disclaimer of your choice here.)
posted by anaelith at 11:30 AM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: Pretty sure it's not a wart. The skin surface is completely normal and painless.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:30 AM on July 23, 2007

Hmmm...I have something like this on my right foot too, but on the side of the piggy that had none. I've had it for quite a while and it's never changed, been painful, etc. I always forget to mention it when I go to the doctor.

IANAD, but if it was me and it wasn't changing or discomforting I'd just wait until the next time I went. I mean if it's obviously bothering you, maybe you can at least call up the doctor's office and talk to someone there about it?
posted by sevenless at 12:17 PM on July 23, 2007

I've heard that hitting a ganglion with something heavy (like a large book) will make it go away. I'm not recommending you bash your toe with an encyclopaedia, though.
posted by Rabulah at 1:05 PM on July 23, 2007

Could you go to a pharmacist to ask what they think? If it sounds like something common then they'll have something for it, or tell you not to worry, if not, you'll know you're not the only one puzzled, and won't feel as bad about asking your doctor.
posted by kg at 1:41 PM on July 23, 2007

That sounds like a ganglion cyst to me. I have one on the side of my big-toe-knuckle. They're less common but not rare on feets, from what I can tell.

Don't bash it with a book.

You can sometimes see light through them, if you have a good, strong penlight, because they aren't actually solid masses. (Mine goes away when I wear this one pair of heels.) If it's not bothering you, or spreading (which means it isn't a cyst) then I wouldn't worry.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:01 PM on July 23, 2007

Yeah, don't hit it with a book. That's generally pretty solid medical advice in any situation, actually.

But painless lump equals doctor visit, in my book (if you've got insurance).
posted by jennyjenny at 3:21 PM on July 23, 2007

Well, actually, when I had a cyst on my hand my doctor did, in seriousness, tell me to hit it with a book.... But only if it was bothering me and I really felt like it, otherwise I could just leave it alone (with a high likely hood of accidentally bumping it hard enough to pop it, or it just disappearing on its own which it eventually did). So if it is a cyst* and you feel brave, go ahead and take a swing at it.
*Which of course you don't know, yet.
posted by anaelith at 5:02 PM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: My dad has had ganglions before and I think his doc told him to try a book, too. In fact i think they used to call them Bible Bumps for that very reason.

But unfortunately, whatever this is, it's in a place I can't get to with a book. Books don't fit between my toes.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 5:31 PM on July 23, 2007

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