Just like anywhere else on your body, you can develop skin changes to the foot and ankle that may resemble freckles, moles, rashes or other skin lesions. These lesions are most likely benign but they could also be a sign of skin cancer. Skin cancer to the foot and ankle is rare but does occur. Because it is rare and the feet get little attention for a full inspection, skin lesions here can go unnoticed. Many times during a lower extremity physical exam we will notice these spots between the toes or on the bottoms of the feet that the patient had no idea were there. If the patient is unaware of the lesion, we don’t know how long it has been present and if there have been any changes in the appearance. Because of this, a skin biopsy is often used in the foot and ankle to evaluate unknown skin lesions.
In the foot, the most common biopsy technique is a punch biopsy. This involves numbing the surrounding skin of the biopsy site with local anesthetic and then painlessly taking a sample of the skin and soft tissue structures underneath to be sent to a lab to be analyzed. The puncture site is either closed with stitches or allowed to heal from the inside out depending on the size of the biopsy. The biopsy site usually requires daily dressing changes until the skin is healed which is around 10-14 days. The result of the biopsy is usually back within one week. Only with a biopsy can we be certain of the diagnosis and the treatment plan that is required. In the majority of cases, the biopsy is benign and no further treatment is needed. However, if the lesion returns as cancer, immediate treatment could save your life.
If you have any spots on your foot or ankle that you would like evaluated or have any other foot and/or ankle ailments, please call our office at 972-542-2155 for more information.