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Skaters Can Have Foot or Ankle Bumps

Learn the Causes of Bumps That Appear On Your Feet


Skaters Can Have Foot or Ankle Bumps
wetwebwork/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Have you seen an unusual bump on your foot? There are many sources of foot pain for skaters, and bumps on the feet like bunions, cysts, hammer toe, bursitis or callus formations and the pain that comes with them are one sign that your feet are responding to some kind of unnecessary pressure that is causing damage or discomfort to tissues, tendons and nerves. A lot of these foot injuries are the result of of breaking in a new pair of skates or even lace bite. Sometimes the pain disappears after your boots are broken in, but in some cases the bumps do not go away without medical attention.

Since your healthy feet are necessary for safe, painless skating, learn how to identify some common bumps and possible causes:

Bunions and Bunionettes

Big toe (bunions) or little toe (bunionettes) are a common source of pain for skaters. A bunion is a deformity on the inside of the foot near the base of the big toe. A bunionette is a a lot like a bunion, but they are found on the outside of the foot. Ill-fitting skates and footwear is one cause of bunions. But, genetics and foot injuries can also be factors in the development of bunions. One way to prevent bunions and bunionettes is choose proper fitting skate gear and other footwear.


There are several cysts that can cause a lump on a skater's foot. Epidermoid cysts are the most common type of skin cyst. They can occur anywhere on the body but tend to occur more on the face or upper trunk. Common names for these cysts include:

  • Epidermal cyst
  • Infundibular cyst
  • Epidermal inclusion cyst
  • Keratin cyst
These and other cysts could be caused by minor puncture wounds or from prolonged pressure or friction to the affected area by your skate gear. Padding the area to reduce friction may temporarily help in painful situations.

Hammer Toe

A hammer toe develops when the middle of your toe points up and distorts. This usually happens as the result of a big toe bunion pushing on the second toe. A painful callous can also form on top of the first joint of the toe. Treatment consists of padding to reduce pressure, making sure that skates and shoes fit properly or surgical straightening of the toe.

Malleolar Bursitis

Malleolar bursitis is accompanied with painful inflammation and swelling on your protruding ankle bones. Skaters who suffer from this can have their skating boots stretched out at the sides. While skating, malleolar bursitis can be prevented by simply protecting your ankles with silicon sleeves like Bunga Pads. If the condition is already there, use padding around the ankle bone instead of on top it to keep pressure away from the bump while it is healing.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are caused by rubbing, pressure or friction on the skin on a skater's feet. A corn is a collection of thickened skin on top of or in-between a skater's toes that develops into a protective layer of dead skin cells. Corns are cone-shaped and have a pressure-sensitive core that points inward, pushes on nerves and causes foot pain. A callus is thickened and hardened skin on the soles of your feet that is more evenly spread and with no cone-shaped core.

Both of these bumps are caused by friction or rubbing. There are some at-home corn and callus treatments, but if yours is painful or has blood in it, it should be treated by a podiatrist or other medical specialist.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts (plantar verucca) are caused by a virus and may be mistaken for callouses, if layers of dead skin build up on them. The name plantar means the bottom of the foot, but these warts can appear on other locations on the foot including your toes – and can be very painful if they appear in the wrong spot.

Heel Spurs

A heel spur is a hook of bone that forms on the heel bone (calcaneus). A heel spur is commonly associated with plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs cause pain on the bottom of the foot. Skaters and even doctors may mix-up heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, because the symptoms are similar.

Prevention of Foot Bumps

Many of the bumps and protrusions above can be prevented or controlled with properly fitted skates and by wearing shoes and other footwear that fit. Be sure take protective measures like having your skate boot adjusted, punched out or eve replaced and use protective padding at the earliest sign of discomfort. This will benefit both your feet and your skating.

Any severe foot bump problems should be reviewed and treated by a podiatrist or even your primary care physician to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment for the pain.

Other Sports Injuries

Skating injuries are always lurking on the horizon. Some may be overuse injuries and others may be acute or traumatic. Learn about the things you can do to prevent, identify or get professional treatment for some common inline skating injuries:

This document was reviewed by our Medical Review Board in 2012 and is considered medically accurate.

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