What are Lumps?

Lumps under the skin can appear anywhere on the body, and they can occur for a variety of different reasons. Most don’t cause any harm, others may require treatment and in a few cases may be a sign of another potentially serious illness. It’s understandable then that finding a lump anywhere on your body can be a worrying experience. Many people will naturally begin to imagine the worst possible scenarios, but in the majority of cases, lumps are nothing to be concerned about.

Types of lumps

A lump on your body could be any of the following:

  • Cyst - a cyst is a lump filled with fluid. They can appear anywhere on the body (arms, hands, shoulders, back and groin). Most cysts will go down on their own in time, though in some cases they may need to be drained by a doctor.
  • Wart - warts are irregular lumps that are most commonly found on the face, hands, feet or genitals. They’re contagious, so if you suspect you may have a wart, you’ll need to consider how you will avoid passing it on. In the majority of cases, warts will go away on their own, though there are faster treatments you can discuss with your doctor if the wart is in a particularly visible location. If you notice multiple warts that are growing, do discuss with a doctor in case there’s an underlying cause.
  • Lipoma - these soft, rubbery lumps are non-cancerous, and mostly contain fat. They’re mostly found on the neck and back, but can occur anywhere on the body. Lipomas are harmless, but may be inconvenient if they’re visible to others.
  • Skin tags - these fleshy lumps are most common in places where friction occurs on the body, such as the armpits, the neck or the groin. They’re completely harmless and it can be difficult (unless you’re a health professional) to tell the difference between skin tags, warts and moles. So best to get any lump checked out by a doctor.
  • Abscesses - these pus-filled lumps can appear anywhere on the body. Abscesses are usually caused by bacterial infections, and will often disappear once the infection subsides. In some cases, the abscess may need to be drained by a doctor.
  • Bunion foot infection - these are bony lumps that can form on the sides of your feet by your big toe. They can be painful. Surgery is the only way to get rid of them.


These are some of the most common types of lump, but there are dozens of other reasons why you might have developed a lump somewhere on your body. If you’re in any way concerned, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as you can.

Treatment for lumps

The treatment for your lump will depend entirely on what caused it. Many lumps can be left to disappear on their own, while some may need treatment. In some rare cases, the lump may be a symptom of another illness, which will need to be addressed before the lump will start to go down.

When it comes to lumps on the body, it’s always best to seek a medical opinion.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.