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What Causes a Bump on the Bottom of the Foot?

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A bump on the bottom of the foot may cause a person discomfort or pain when walking. There are a variety of conditions that may cause bumps on the feet, some of which require medical treatment.

This article explores the various causes of a bump on the bottom of the foot and how a person can treat each cause.

Causes

A bump on the bottom of the foot may be caused by:

1. Uneven weight distribution
If certain bones in the foot are misaligned, it may cause uneven weight distribution.

Sometimes, the long bones behind the toes (metatarsals) become misaligned. This affects the way weight is distributed across the ball of the foot as a person walks.

Uneven weight distribution in the foot means some areas absorb more pressure than others. These may cause calluses to form on the ball of the foot.

Bumps caused by uneven weight distribution tend to occur in people with diabetes.

If a person with diabetes develops lumps or calluses on their feet, they should monitor them carefully and speak to a doctor. If left untreated, these lumps can cause ulcers.

Foot ulceration is the most common lower-extremity complication for people with diabetes.

2. Limited movement of the big toe joint

If a person’s big toe joint does not move correctly when they walk, an excessive force is applied to the bottom of their big toe.

A callus may develop under their big toe and the bone may become enlarged.

3. Plantar fibromas

Plantar fibromas are nodular masses that can form in the arch of a person’s foot.

These non-cancerous tumors form in the plantar fascia, which is the ligament in the arch of the foot.

Researchers are unsure why some people get plantar fibromas, but risk factors include tendon damage, a medication called Dilantin, and genetics.

4. Dyshidrotic eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema may cause bumps on the bottom of the foot that are itchy and filled with fluid.

Doctors do not know what causes this type of eczema, but it has been linked to allergies and stress. Dyshidrotic eczema can also cause skin that is:

  • flakey
  • cracked
  • painful to touch

5. Plantar warts

Plantar warts may form on the bottom of a person’s foot if they have human papillomavirus (HPV). These small, fleshy bumps may be tender to walk on. They usually heal without treatment.

6. Bursitis

Bursitis is an inflammation of the natural cushions between bones and soft tissue. Caused by excess friction or injury, bursitis may cause a bump on the bottom of the foot.

7. Cysts

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form with no accompanying symptoms. Cysts are normally benign (harmless). Cysts can develop anywhere on the body, including on the bottom of a person’s foot.

8. Synovial sarcoma

A synovial sarcoma is a type of soft-tissue sarcoma (cancer) that appears as a lump or swelling. It may affect the bottom of the foot and can also cause pain or numbness.

Sarcomas are harmful and may spread to other areas of the body if left untreated.

The American Cancer Society estimate that 13,040 Americans will receive a diagnosis of soft-tissue sarcoma in 2018.

9. Haglund’s deformity

Haglund’s deformity is a bump on the back of the foot or heel that forms under the Achilles tendon. It is often confused with Achilles tendonitis.

When the bump rubs against a person’s shoes, it may cause pain and irritation.

Diagnosis

If a person has a bump on the bottom of their foot that does not go away after a few days or is causing pain or discomfort, they should speak to their doctor.

The doctor can examine the feet and ask questions about a person’s medical history to determine the cause.

Once the doctor has diagnosed the cause, the doctor can recommend the best course of treatment.

Treatment

Treatment will be recommended based on the cause diagnosed.

Treatment for a bump on the bottom of the foot varies depending on the cause.

Treatments for each cause are explored below:

Limited movement of the big toe joint

A doctor may recommend functional foot orthosis for someone with limited movement of their big toe joint.

This treatment helps to restore normal movement in the joint. Once the joint can move properly, it relieves the pressure under the big toe, and a person can treat the callus.

Uneven weight distribution

A molded insole or orthotic can help treat bumps caused by uneven weight distribution. This helps to remove the pressure from the balls of the feet.

Plantar fibromas

Foot orthotics may relieve pressure from the arch of the foot (plantar fascia) and help reduce the size of the nodules.

It is also possible to remove the mass surgically. However, to ensure the plantar fibromas do not come back, it may be necessary to remove most of the plantar fascia.

A person may need to wear orthotics after surgery.

Dyshidrotic eczema

A doctor may prescribe corticosteroids or antihistamines for dyshidrotic eczema. Reducing stress may also help treat dyshidrotic eczema.

Plantar warts

Plantar warts do not usually need treatment. However, if they bleed, change color, or cause noticeable discomfort, a person should speak to their doctor. The doctor can determine whether they should be removed.

There are many ways to remove warts. A 2006 study notes that cryotherapy, which involves using liquid nitrogen to remove the wart, has the highest quality of clinical evidence to support its effectiveness.

Bursitis

People can treat bursitis with:

  • rest
  • anti-inflammatory medications
  • ice

If the condition does not improve, a doctor may recommend corticosteroids and physical therapy. Surgery may be needed in severe cases.

Cysts

A doctor can drain cysts using a sterile needle. For more significant cysts, surgery may be needed. Unlike blisters, it is not a good idea to try to drain a cyst at home.

Synovial sarcoma

A synovial sarcoma is malignant and always requires medical treatment. A surgeon can also remove it using surgery. A person may also need chemotherapy or radiotherapy to help recovery.

Haglund’s deformity

A person can often treat Haglund’s deformity with home remedies, such as:

  • wearing open back shoes
  • taking anti-inflammatory medications
  • icing the area to reduce inflammation

If home remedies are not effective, the following treatments are available:

  • ultrasound treatment
  • soft tissue massage
  • orthotics
  • heel pads
  • immobilizing boots

Surgery is also an option if other treatments are not effective.

Takeaway

There are several different causes of a bump on the bottom of the foot. Understanding these helps a person determine why they have one and take the best course of action.

It is always a good idea to speak to a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. A doctor can recommend an appropriate treatment and steps a person can take to prevent bumps from occurring in the future.

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Paternal Transmission Of Epigenetic Memory Via Sperm

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Studies of human populations and animal models suggest that a father’s experiences such as diet or environmental stress can influence the health and development of his descendants. How these effects are transmitted across generations, however, remains mysterious.

Susan Strome’s lab at UC Santa Cruz has been making steady progress in unraveling the mechanisms behind this phenomenon, using a tiny roundworm called Caenorhabditis elegans to show how marks on chromosomes that affect gene expression, called “epigenetic” marks, can be transmitted from parents to offspring. Her team’s most recent paper, published October 17 in Nature Communications, focuses on transmission of epigenetic marks by C. elegans sperm.

In addition to documenting the transmission of epigenetic memory by sperm, the new study shows that the epigenetic information delivered by sperm to the embryo is both necessary and sufficient to guide proper development of germ cells in the offspring (germ cells give rise to eggs and sperm).

“We decided to look at C. elegans because it is such a good model for asking epigenetic questions using powerful genetic approaches,” said Strome, a distinguished professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology.

Epigenetic changes do not alter the DNA sequences of genes, but instead involve chemical modifications to either the DNA itself or the histone proteins with which DNA is packaged in the chromosomes. These modifications influence gene expression, turning genes on or off in different cells and at different stages of development. The idea that epigenetic modifications can cause changes in gene expression that are transmitted from one generation to the next, known as “transgenerational epigenetic inheritance,” is now the focus of intense scientific investigation.

For many years, it was thought that sperm do not retain any histone packaging and therefore could not transmit histone-based epigenetic information to offspring. Recent studies, however, have shown that about 10 percent of histone packaging is retained in both human and mouse sperm.

“Furthermore, where the chromosomes retain histone packaging of DNA is in developmentally important regions, so those findings raised awareness of the possibility that sperm may transmit important epigenetic information to embryos,” Strome said.

When her lab looked at C. elegans sperm, they found the sperm genome fully retains histone packaging. Other researchers had found the same is true for another commonly studied organism, the zebrafish.

“Like zebrafish, worms represent an extreme form of histone retention by sperm, which makes them a great system to see if this packaging really matters,” Strome said.

Her lab focused on a particular epigenetic mark (designated H3K27me3) that has been well established as a mark of repressed gene expression in a wide range of organisms. The researchers found that removing this mark from sperm chromosomes causes the majority of the offspring to be sterile. Having established that the mark is important, they wanted to see if it is sufficient to guide normal germline development.

The researchers addressed this by analyzing a mutant worm in which the chromosomes from sperm and egg are separated in the first cell division after fertilization, so that one cell of the embryo inherits only sperm chromosomes and the other cell inherits only egg chromosomes (normally, each cell of an embryo inherits chromosomes from both egg and sperm). This unusual chromosome segregation pattern allowed the researchers to generate worms whose germ line inherited only sperm chromosomes and therefore only sperm epigenetic marks. Those worms turned out to be fertile and to have normal gene expression patterns.

“These findings show that the DNA packaging in sperm is important, because offspring that did not inherit normal sperm epigenetic marks were sterile, and it is sufficient for normal germline development,” Strome said.

While the study shows that epigenetic information transmitted by sperm is important for normal development, it does not directly address how the life experience of a father can affect the health of his descendants. Strome’s lab is investigating this question with experiments in which worms are treated with alcohol or starved before reproducing.

“The goal is to analyze how the chromatin packaging changes in the parent,” she said.

“Whatever gets passed on to the offspring has to go through the germ cells. We want to know which cells experience the environmental factors, how they transmit that information to the germ cells, what changes in the germ cells, and how that impacts the offspring.”

By demonstrating the importance of epigenetic information carried by sperm, the current study establishes that if the environment experienced by the father changes the epigenetics of sperm chromosomes, it could affect the offspring.

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Father’s Nicotine Use Can Cause Cognitive Problems In Children And Grandchildren

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A father’s exposure to nicotine may cause cognitive deficits in his children and even grandchildren, according to a study in mice publishing on October 16 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Pradeep Bhide of Florida State University in Tallahassee and colleagues. The effect, which was not caused by direct secondhand exposure, may be due to epigenetic changes in key genes in the father’s sperm.

Exposure of mothers to nicotine and other components of cigarette smoke is recognized as a significant risk factor for behavioral disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, (or ADHD) in multiple generations of descendants. Whether the same applies to fathers has been less clear, in part because in human studies it has been difficult to separate genetic factors (such as a genetic predisposition to ADHD) from environmental factors, such as direct exposure to cigarette smoke.

To overcome this difficulty, Deirdre McCarthy, Pradeep Bhide and colleagues exposed male mice to low-dose nicotine in their drinking water during the stage of life in which the mice produce sperm. They then bred these mice with females that had never been exposed to nicotine. While the fathers were behaviorally normal, both sexes of offspring displayed hyperactivity, attention deficit, and cognitive inflexibility. When female (but not male) mice from this generation were bred with nicotine-naïve mates, male offspring displayed fewer, but still significant, deficits in cognitive flexibility. Analysis of spermatozoa from the original nicotine-exposed males indicated that promoter regions of multiple genes had been epigenetically modified, including the dopamine D2 gene, critical for brain development and learning, suggesting that these modifications likely contributed to the cognitive deficits in the descendants.

Nicotine and cigarette smoke have been previously shown to cause widespread epigenetic changes, Bhide said.

“The fact that men smoke more than women makes the effects in males especially important from a public health perspective. Our findings underscore the need for more research on the effects of smoking by the father, rather than just the mother, on the health of their children.”

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Nutrition Has A Greater Impact On Bone Strength Than Exercise

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ANN ARBOR—One question that scientists and fitness experts alike would love to answer is whether exercise or nutrition has a bigger positive impact on bone strength. University of Michigan researchers looked at mineral supplementation and exercise in mice, and found surprising results–nutrition has a greater impact on bone mass and strength than exercise. Further, even after the exercise training stopped, the mice retained bone strength gains as long as they ate a mineral-supplemented diet.

“The longer-term mineral-supplemented diet leads to not only increases in bone mass and strength, but the ability to maintain those increases even after detraining,” said David Kohn, a U-M professor in the schools of dentistry and engineering.

“This was done in mice, but if you think about the progression to humans, diet is easier for someone to carry on as they get older and stop exercising, rather than the continuation of exercise itself.”

The second important finding is that the diet alone has beneficial effects on bone, even without exercising. This surprised Kohn, who expected exercise with a normal diet to fuel greater gains in bone strength, but that wasn’t the case.

“The data suggests the long-term consumption of the mineral-supplemented diet could be beneficial in preventing the loss of bone and strength with age, even if you don’t do exercise training,” he said.

Combining the two amplifies the effect.

Most other studies look at effects of increasing dietary calcium, Kohn said. The U-M study increased calcium and phosphorous, and found benefits to increasing both.

This isn’t to suggest that people run out and buy calcium and phosphorus supplements, Kohn said. The findings don’t translate directly from mice to humans, but they do give researchers a conceptual place to start.

It’s known that humans achieve peak bone mass in their early 20s, and after that it declines. The question becomes how to maximize the amount of bone when young, so that when declines do begin, people start from a better position, Kohn said.

In addition to testing bone mass and strength, Kohn and colleagues performed a full battery of mechanical assessments on the bone, which is important because the amount of bone doesn’t always scale with or predict the mechanical quality of the tissue.

They tested the mice after eight weeks of training and supplemented diet or normal diet, and then after eight weeks of detraining.

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