Cyst, a closed sac in or under the skin that is lined with skin tissue and contains fluid or semisolid material
Benign skin growths such as seborrheic keratoses or neurofibromas
Boils, painful, red bumps usually involving a hair follicle
Corn or callus, caused by skin thickening in response to continued pressure (for example, from shoes) and usually occurring on a toe or foot
Warts, a skin virus that develops a rough, hard bump, usually appearing on a hand or foot and often with tiny black dots in the bump
Moles, skin-colored, tan, or brown bumps on the skin
Abscess, infected fluid trapped in a closed space from which it cannot escape
Cancer of the skin (colored or pigmented spot that bleeds easily, changes size or shape, or crusts and doesn't heal)
Skin lumps from trauma can be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Most other lumps should be looked at by your health care provider before you try any home treatments.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if there is any unexplained lump or swelling.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms, including:
Where is the lump?
When did you first notice it?
Is there more than one lump?
Is it painful?
What does the lump look like?
What other symptoms do you have?
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have an infection. If cancer is suspected or the diagnosis is not apparent on visual inspection, a biopsy may be done.
James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.
Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team.