Bone Cyst on Foot or Toe or Ankle

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi   by Tatheer Zehra Zaidi, M. Pharma    Last updated on April 19, 2021,

bone cyst on foot

What is a foot bone cyst or a toe cyst or an ankle bone cyst?

A foot cyst or a toe cyst or an ankle cyst is a benign fluid-filled space that forms inside the bone which is attached to the joint capsules of the foot or the toe or the ankle.

These cysts that develop on foot or on toe do not have a regular shape or size and they are generally mobile in nature. Generally, these types of cysts are located at the joints or the tendons but in some cases they may develop in the bones. These cysts on foot or toe develop with time and over a period of years.

What causes a foot cyst or a toe cyst or an ankle cyst?

The exact identifiable cause of an ankle cyst or a foot cyst is not known, but most scientists believe that they are caused due to some type of trauma to the foot or the toe due to overuse of the foot or due to any direct injury such as due to a fall. The trauma causes inflammation of the tissues which gradually converts into a cyst on ankle or foot or toe.

What are the symptoms of foot cysts or a toe cyst or an ankle cyst?

Foot cyst or toe cyst or ankle cyst symptoms are:

  • A lump on the foot or ankle or toe, usually near the joint
  • Burning sensation around the cyst
  • Severe pain around the cyst or in the cyst
  • Difficulty in wearing shoes
  • Reduced motion of the ankle and foot
  • Irritation of the skin due to the cyst

How is a foot cyst or an ankle cyst or a toe cyst diagnosed?

Your doctor will collate detailed medical history to look for any trauma or injury to the foot or the toe or the ankle. He or she will ask you several questions such as about the duration of the lump on the foot, severity of pain, any other unusual thing you noticed, etc.

The doctor will then perform a physical examination to identify the characteristics of the lump on the foot. He will test whether the lump is tender. The fluid inside the cyst will be aspirated and sent for laboratory analysis for confirmed diagnosis, if the doctor requires.

The doctor may recommend X-rays of the affected area to look for the damage to the bone or joint or the nearby structures. An ultrasound of the foot may also be needed. Though not common but sometimes an MRI of the foot may also be performed, if other reports are not conclusive.

What you should do if you notice foot cysts or toe cysts? Can foot cysts or toe cysts or ankle cysts go away on their own without treatment?

Foot cysts or toe cysts or ankle cysts are benign in nature and they usually go away on their own within a few years. In most cases, your child may not require a treatment for them. However, they may recur again.

Cysts on foot or toe usually do not cause any pain but they may damage the adjoining bones and joints. These cysts can develop in anyone (adults as well as children) irrespective of the age, but these are more common in females than in males.

Treatment of foot cysts or ankle cysts or toe cysts

The treatment method your doctor prefers depends on the size and location of the cyst on the foot and the symptoms caused by it.

A wait and watch approach is considered if the cysts are quite small and do not cause any pain. If the cyst causes problem during motion, the doctor may recommend some type of treatment. You may have to avoid wearing footwear.

The most effective way of treating a cyst is to remove the fluid filled in the cyst completely. This method is called aspiration. If aspiration does not help, the physician may recommend a surgery to remove the cyst. Read about the treatment of bone cysts in detail.

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi is a clinical pharmacist and pharmacologist with a master’s degree in pharmacy practice. She aims to deliver a positive contribution in the field of healthcare and research. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Jamia Hamdard New Delhi and then joined Spirant Communication Private LTD as a Medical content writer.


Currently she is working at Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as a research associate and is associated with DiseaseFix as a medical content writer. Tatheer’s areas of interest include clinical research, clinical trial disclosure, and pharmacovigilance.

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