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 an infected 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 does not heal)
Skin lumps from an injury 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 provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms, including:
Where is the lump?
When did you first notice it?
Is it painful or growing larger?
Is it bleeding or draining?
Is there more than one lump?
Is it painful?
What does the lump look like?
What other symptoms do you have?
Your provider may prescribe antibiotics if you have an infection. If cancer is suspected or the provider cannot make a diagnosis by looking at the lump, a biopsy may be done.
James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM. Dermal and subcutaneous tumors. In: James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016: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, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.