When a Skin Biopsy is Warranted in the Foot and Ankle

Just like anywhere else on your body, the foot and ankle can develop skin changes that may resemble freckles, moles, rashes, or other lesions.  These areas 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, these skin changes can go unnoticed for quite a long time.  Many times during a lower extremity physical exam we will notice these spots between the toes or on the bottoms of the feet.  When asked, the patient had no idea they were there.  If the patient is unaware of the lesion, then we don’t know the time frame of the skin changes.  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. 

If you have any questionable skin changes to your feet or ankles, please call us at 972-542-2155 for an evaluation.