Skin Masses, Moles, and Skin Lesions

The appearance of an unidentified skin mass on the foot can be a cause for concern.

With the increasing prevalence of skin cancer, this should not be taken lightly. There are a number of different skin conditions that can cause pain. While most cases are benign and do not impact your quality of life in any way, some can be life-threatening.

Due to the number of different types of skin masses and the potential severity of malignant melanoma, it is important to have any lesions and nevi on your feet checked by qualified podiatrist. At Northwest Surgical Specialists we provide experienced care, offering accurate diagnoses and informed treatment options where necessary.


Benign moles and skin lesions (nevi)

There are several different types of moles and skin lesions that can appear on the feet, including:

Acquired Nevi

These are benign and appear during childhood and adulthood and have the potential to change into malignant melanoma:

  • Junctional Melanocytic Nevi (flat brown or black lesions)
  • Intradermal Nevi (domed flesh-colored or light brown lesions)
  • Compound Nevi (raised with uniform pigmentations)


These are small tan-colored flat spots that appear after exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.


Referred to as sunspots or age spots, lentigines are flat, brown spots associated with sun damage. They do not commonly appear on the feet but are an important marker for sun damage which has a higher associated risk for melanoma.

Seborrheic Keratoses

Seborrheic keratosis has a dark mole-like appearance and may be mistaken for warts or melanoma and may appear on the tops of the feet.

Foot melanoma

Acral lentiginous melanoma

These account for around 50% of foot melanomas and present as a dark patch on the skin or as a wide, dark streak on the nail.

Nodular melanoma

Characterized by a dark blue papule, this type of melanoma usually develops in older adults.

Superficial spreading melanoma

This is the most common type. It grows across the skin, not inward, and most often occurs on the tops of the feet.

Amelanotic melanoma

These melanomas are colorless and as a result are often misdiagnosed.

How are skin masses treated?

If it is a cyst, the most common treatments are:

  • Lancing
  • Cortisone injection
  • Surgery

If it is a benign tumor, depending on the nature of the tumor, it may not be necessary to pursue treatment. However, where treatment is necessary, there are different options, including:

  • Cryosurgery – the application of liquid nitrogen onto the skin to freeze the tissue
  • Surgical excision – cutting into the skin to remove the growth
  • Curettage – scraping away the tumor tissues

Your specialist may examine your foot and identify areas of concern. If they suspect foot melanoma, they will examine the mole and take a biopsy to diagnose the spot. If the melanoma is caught early on and hasn’t spread, the area can be cut out in a process called excision. If the foot melanoma is more advanced, there are a number of specialist therapy interventions that can be used, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Schedule an appointment

If you have concerns about a skin mass or lesion on your foot, it is important to make an appointment with a specialist. While majority of nevi are benign, the severity of a foot melanoma diagnosis means that seeking proactive professional advice is essential. With melanomas, early intervention is key and our doctors can offer an accurate diagnosis as well as advice on the best course of treatment.