A lipoma is a fatty lump located under the skin. It is caused by a rapid, uncontrolled growth of fat cells. They are considered benign tumors. Benign tumors are non cancer causing.

If the lipoma creates problems or pain, excision is a good option. A lipoma can hurt to walk on. It can also create a cosmetically unpleasant look. 

A lipoma can be seen anywhere on the body where fat cells are present. Most commonly seen on the armpits, thighs, neck, trunk, chest and shoulders.

We typically take care of lipomas in the foot, ankle or leg. Dr. Kolodenker can be consulted for a surgical visit.

A lipoma feels soft and easily moves under the skin. Growth is very slow.


Cause is unknown.

In rare cases a genetic disease can cause many lipomas. This is rare disease is called lipomatosis.

Lipomas can be seen more in Gardner’s syndrome, Medelung’s disease, Adiposis Dolorosa and Cowden syndrome.

In rare cases, trauma can create the growth of a lipoma.


People will usually feel a soft lump just under the skin. Lipomas do not usually hurt. Surgery is needed when the create pain or problems in the joints, organs, nerves, or blood vessels.

Future Health

Lipomas are benign masses of fat cells.

It is extremely rare for a lipoma to become cancerous. A cancerous fat cell is a liposarcoma.

Risk factors

Patients with a high cholesterol will increase risk of lipoma formation.

Obesity will increase chance of lipoma formation.

A family history will increase chance of lipoma formation.

When to see a doctor

People should always tell their doctor if they notice changes in a lipoma or if more lumps appear. These changes might involve the lipoma:

Increasing in size or suddenly growing very quickly

Being painful

Becoming red or hot

Turning into a hard or immovable lump

Causing visible changes in the overlying skin


An MRI is very helpful to see a lipoma
The best way to obtain a definitive diagnosis is with a biopsy.

When is surgical removal needed?

If it is cancerous

large and growing quickly

created pain

cosmetic distress

biopsy needed

Surgery to remove a Lipoma in the Foot