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Balls on the feet: Causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The small balls that sometimes appear on the lateral parts of the feet often go unnoticed because they are asymptomatic. These are evident in any healthy person when they stand up and disappear once they stop supporting the heel.

These injuries are frequently seen in female marathoners, many of whom are forced to leave the sport due to pain that limits their performance in physical activity. However, pain is not familiar when the balls appear on the feet; in many cases, they go unnoticed because their presence does not cause pain.

In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain why little balls come out on the feet and how to remove them.

Pellets on the feet or pyogenic papules

As they are popularly called, the balls on the feet are also known as piezogenic foot papules. They are characterized by small hernias of fatty tissue produced by defects of the connective tissue. They can be seen on the side and middle of the foot when the person is standing and disappear when pressure is released on foot.

In most cases, these lesions are seen in people over 40 years of age, more often in women. Their presence is asymptomatic; when they become painful, it is due to ischemia caused by the extrusion of fat with the nerve-vascular bundle in the heel area.

These small balls appear in the form of multiple papules that measure between 2 and 5 mm. As they increase in size, the more pain the patient will present. The size of the spots can increase due to trauma to the heel region and being overweight. Another cause that produces pain is compression of the nerves and blood vessels, which causes ischemia and inflammation in the deepest area of ​​the dermis.

Why do little balls come out on my feet?

These little balls on the feet or piezogenic papules come out for various reasons; among them are:

  • Intense physical activity: vigorous and constant exercise causes the balls to appear on the feet due to the compression of the heel area.
  • Standing for very long periods: pressure on the heel region for extended periods contributes to the formation of the balls of the feet due to the defect of the connective tissue in the heel region.
  • Overweight or Obesity: Excess weight and pressure on the heels make them noticeable more easily.
  • Being in the same position and for long periods in the working day: aggravates the injuries present in the region of the heels due to the pressure in this position.
  • Ehlers Danlos is an inherited disease characterized by increased skin elasticity, abnormal hematoma, and easy damage to the blood vessels. These alterations are the product of genetic alterations that affect the structures that have to do with collagen. Piezogenic bumps are seen more frequently in people with this disease.

Other conditions that cause bumps on the feet

There are other types of injuries capable of producing balls in the feet; among them, we can mention:

Ganglion in the foot

It is a fluid-filled cyst that can appear in any foot area, although it occurs more frequently on the ankle or instep. You can change its size, but you do it slowly.

The growth of a bone known as a calcaneal spur can cause the appearance of this condition due to the irritation it produces in the joints and tendons. This injury can cause tingling, pain, and even loss of sensation.

Ganglion treatment: the first thing to do is drain this lesion to reduce symptoms. Another way to treat it is with steroid infiltration, which reduces the symptoms and their size.

Applying physical means, such as placing ice on the ganglion area for 15 to 20 minutes, relieves inflammation and pain.

Fibroma plantar

It is a lump on the sole; it is a benign lesion that appears in the foot’s arch and can be evidenced in one or both. It occurs more frequently in men than in women, regardless of age. For it to go away, medical treatment is needed.

It is a nodule that is characterized by the alteration of the connective tissue; It is a lesion that is firm to the touch, which can remain the same size or increase in volume, causing discomfort.

Treatment of plantar fibroma: analgesic and anti-inflammatory creams to reduce symptoms, as with steroids, which seek to reduce pain and inflammation temporarily. Physical therapy improves inflammation. If the plantar fibroma continues to grow, the specialist will be in charge of indicating the surgical resection of the lesion.

Diagnosis of balls in the feet

The diagnosis of small balls in the feet is made through a thorough physical examination. These injuries are often misleading, requiring a knowledgeable medical professional.

On repeated occasions, pyogenic papules have been confused with other alterations such as warts, cysts, or boils. The diagnosis is erroneous, and the treatment implemented would not be adequate.

For this reason, specialized studies such as magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound make it possible to observe encapsulated fat lesions; however, for a specialist in the field, the presence of lesions is evidenced with only a physical examination.

How to remove the balls on the feet

In cases where it does not represent any discomfort for the patient, they should be left as is and explain what it is about so that they do not feel anguish about what they have.

The treatment of these injuries is symptomatic; there is no specific treatment for footballs. However, certain measures must be taken, such as:

  • Adhesive tape compression is indicated in the heel region to avoid protrusion of the balls in the feet.
  • If you feel a lot of pain, you should go to the podiatrist; he will take care of giving you all the guidance in this regard.
  • If you are overweight, you need to decrease it so that the pressure on your heels will also do so, and you will feel relief when you stand up.
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time.
  • It is recommended not to practice high-impact sports; this reduces the risk of suffering trauma to the feet that aggravate the pain.
  • Plastic or rubber supports called heel pads can reduce pressure on the heels.
  • For patients with Ehler Danlos disease, the application of Betamethasone and Bupivacaine injections is recommended; both are placed in equal parts during three sessions with an interval of 1 month between each one.
  • If it is a more challenging situation, the treating doctor will resort to a surgical intervention to eliminate the pain and correct the appearance of the heel. The podiatrist or your trusted doctor will guide you on what measures to implement to avoid pain or destroy it.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Balls on the feet: why they come out and how to remove them, we recommend entering our Bones, Joints, and Muscles category.

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