Soft tissues masses are not uncommon to develop at some point in a lifetime and can happen all over the body. One common soft tissue mass we see in the foot and ankle is called a lipoma. Lipomas most commonly occur at the lateral aspect of the ankle joint. They can be very large and cause irritation due to rubbing in shoes. A lipoma is a benign tumor of fat cells forming in between the skin and muscle layer. Lipomas are common and do not transform into anything else. They do not require any lab testing or imaging to diagnose although imaging may be done to rule out any other differential diagnosis. They can last your whole life or a few years.
The exact cause of developing lipomas is unknown, but a strong family history can be a precursor. Lipomas in most cases are not painful although they can be unsightly as they cause a large bump. In some cases, they can cause pain due to the bump rubbing and irritating the skin or the nerves around the tumor. Treatment options for the lipoma are pretty simple: remove the lipoma. This is a small surgical procedure with very little complications. Developing multiple lipomas in areas of the body can be a sign of other medical conditions. If you are experiencing a condition that may be similar to this in your foot or ankle, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas.