Understanding Foot Melanoma: Treatments and Care at Acacia Foot and Ankle Surgeons

Apr 14, 2024
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This form of skin cancer, although rare, can occur on the skin of the feet and is often overlooked until it progresses.

What is Foot Melanoma?

Foot melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the pigment-producing cells that give color to the skin. Unlike other melanomas that are caused by sun exposure, foot melanoma is often attributed to genetic factors and its hidden location makes it harder to detect early. It can appear as a small, dark spot under a toenail, or as an irregular freckle on the sole.

Signs and Symptoms of Foot Melanoma

Recognizing the signs of foot melanoma early is critical. Here are some symptoms to watch for:

  • A pigmented spot that changes in color or size.
  • A lesion with irregular borders on the foot.
  • A sore on the foot that does not heal.
  • Changes in sensation, texture, or temperature of the skin on the foot.


Melanoma on the feet and ankles can present itself in several distinct types, each varying slightly in appearance, location, and potential risk factors. Understanding these types can help in recognizing the early signs and seeking prompt treatment.

Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (ALM): This type of melanoma is most commonly found on the palms, soles of the feet, and beneath the toenails. It is the most common melanoma among individuals with darker skin tones. ALM often appears as a dark patch or irregular spot that can be mistaken for a benign mole or bruise. Its subtlety can delay diagnosis, so any new or changing pigmented lesions on the foot should be evaluated by a specialist.

Nodular Melanoma: Nodular melanoma is an aggressive form of melanoma that can develop rapidly and may appear as a new, dark, or red bump on the skin. On the foot, it might be dismissed as a common cyst or wart. However, unlike a wart, nodular melanoma tends to grow more quickly and feels firmer to the touch.

Subungual Melanoma: This type occurs under the toenails and is a form of acral lentiginous melanoma. It often starts as a streak or dark spot beneath the nail and can be mistaken for a fungal infection or injury-induced bruising. As it progresses, it may cause the nail to crack or become deformed. Due to its location, it's crucial to have any persistent nail changes evaluated, as early stages can often be managed more effectively.

Each of these types of melanoma requires careful examination and prompt treatment to prevent spreading to other parts of the body. Regular self-examinations and professional check-ups play a vital role in early detection and management of foot and ankle melanoma. If you notice any unusual spots or changes in your skin or nails, especially those that change in shape or color, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for a thorough assessment.

Diagnosis and Treatment at Acacia Foot and Ankle Surgeons

At Acacia Foot and Ankle Surgeons, we use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to effectively identify foot melanoma. Diagnosis may involve a physical examination, imaging tests, and a biopsy to determine the nature of the growth.

Treatment varies based on the stage and location of the melanoma but may include:

  • Surgical removal of the melanoma.
  • Lymph node biopsy to check for the spread of cancer.
  • Targeted therapy or immunotherapy, depending on the case.
  • Follow-up care to monitor recovery and prevent recurrence.

Why Choose Dr. Kaveh Panahi and Our Team?

Dr. Kaveh Panahi, with his extensive experience in podiatric medicine, leads a team of dedicated specialists committed to providing the highest level of care. Our office is equipped with advanced medical technologies that are essential for the effective treatment of foot melanoma.

Prevention Tips

While foot melanoma can be challenging to prevent due to its less understood causes, regular checks and early detection play a crucial role in successful treatment outcomes. We advise:

  • Regular self-examinations of the feet for any new marks or changes.
  • Wearing protective footwear to avoid injuries.
  • Scheduling routine check-ups with your podiatrist.

Call to Action

If you notice any irregularities or changes in your feet, or if you require expert advice on foot care, do not hesitate to contact us. Call us at 623.439.2200 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kaveh Panahi at Acacia Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Alternatively, you can make an online appointment through our portal. Prioritizing your foot health is essential, and our team is here to help you every step of the way.


Foot melanoma, while serious, is treatable, especially with early detection and the expert care provided at Acacia Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Remember, your feet carry you through life; taking care of them is not just a necessity but a priority.


Keywords: Foot melanoma, skin cancer on feet, treatment for foot melanoma, Dr. Kaveh Panahi, Acacia Foot and Ankle Surgeons, podiatrist consultation.