Finding Hard Lumps Under Skin

By Ashley Henshaw. May 7th 2016

Feeling an unusual bump under your skin can be a scary experience.

Many people immediately think of cancerous tumors after finding hard lumps under skin. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many small lumps under the skin are benign and can be easily treated. The following are some of the possible causes for hard lumps under the skin and how they can be treated.

Possible Causes

There are numerous possible causes for hard lumps that form under the skin. The lump could be any of the following things:

  • Lipoma: This is one of the most common types of lumps found under the skin. Lipomas are small, fatty masses that are harmless to your health. Your lump may be a lipoma if it feels soft and rolls easily under your skin.
  • Cyst: A cyst is an enclosed sac under the skin containing fluid or semisolid material. It is often yellowish in color and can be moved around under the skin. In most cases, cysts like these are not harmful to your health and require no treatment.
  • Swollen lymph nodes: This condition often occurs in the groin, armpits or neck. Swollen lymph nodes are often caused by something as simple as a cold or the flu. In rare cases, the cause is something more serious, such as HIV or cancer.
  • Abscess: An abscess is a collection of pus that causes swelling and inflammation. It is usually a response to bacteria, parasites or foreign substances. Some abscesses are red, raised and painful.
  • Corn or callus: Corns and calluses are formed in response to continued pressure on a certain area of skin. They often occur on toes, feet and hands and feel quite hard. The skin may appear thickened, yellowish or flaky on top of the corn or callus.
  • Malignant tumor: It’s possible that the lump under your skin is a cancerous tumor. Fortunately, the chances of this being the case are quite slim for most individuals, especially considering all the other possible causes of this condition.

Home Care

In some cases, a lump under your skin can be treated at home. Warm compresses may be helpful for certain conditions, such as abscesses or cysts, especially when swelling is occurring.

When it comes to corns and calluses, you’ll need to find a way to reduce the pressure that has caused these lumps to form. One example is to place soft pads inside your shoes if the ones you currently wear force too much pressure on certain areas of your feet. Soaking a callus in warm water and using a pumice stone may also help it to go away faster. Special bandages are available over the counter to help relieve the pain from corns.

[Related: Foot Callus Treatment And Prevention]

Seeing A Doctor

With any type of lump found under your skin, it’s best to get it checked out by a physician or dermatologist. The home care tips listed above should be used only as a preliminary treatment. For an accurate diagnosis and more detailed treatment plan, make an appointment with your doctor.

Your doctor may prescribe a treatment plan to help you get rid of the lump under your skin. The following are some of the common treatment options for this condition:

  • Tissue sample: When a doctor can’t determine the cause of your cyst with a physical examination, a tissue sample may be needed to provide an accurate diagnosis.
  • Surgical excision: This is typically minor outpatient surgery that involves cutting the lump out of your body and removing it through a small incision. Surgical excision can often be performed right in the doctor’s office.
  • Antibiotics: Lumps which are caused by bacteria may be successfully treated with an antibiotic prescription from your doctor. Be sure to take the antibiotic exactly as prescribed – this may mean that you have to keep taking pills even after the lump has disappeared.
  • Draining: Certain conditions, such as abscesses, may be treated by a doctor cutting open the lump and draining it.
  • Steroid injections: Certain lumps, such as lipomas, can be reduced with steroid injections. However, this treatment usually doesn’t make the lump disappear completely.
  • Liposuction: Lumps may also be removed with liposuction, which involves using a large syringe to remove fatty tissue.
  • Cancer treatment: There are numerous cancer treatment options, including radiation and chemotherapy, for those whose lump is caused by cancer.

The main thing to remember with hard lumps under skin is that, in most cases, the cause is not serious. However, it’s always best to see a doctor to rule out the possibility of more serious causes and to get the most effective and efficient treatment for the lump.

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