Malignant Melanoma of the Foot

Aurora Foot & Ankle Clinic - Foot Problems

From routine checkups to treatments for surgery, Aurora Foot & Ankle Clinic is equipped to handle all your podiatric needs. To help you understand your options, we've included descriptions of some of our leading services on this page.

Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are caused by an unnatural twisting or force on the ankle bones of the foot, often resulting in one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle to be stretched or torn. If not properly treated, ankle sprains could develop into long-term problems. 

Bunions
Bunions are misaligned big toe joints that can become swollen and tender, causing the first joint of the big toe to slant outward, and the second joint to angle toward the other toes. 

Flat Feet
Flat feet are a common condition. In infants and toddlers, the longitudinal arch is not developed and flat feet are normal. The arch develops in childhood, and by adulthood, most people have developed normal arches. 

Hammertoes
Hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. Left untreated, hammertoes can become inflexible and require surgery.

Diabetes and Your Feet
With a diabetic foot, a wound as small as a blister from wearing a shoe that's too tight can cause a lot of damage. Diabetes decreases blood flow, so injuries are slow to heal.

Heel Pain
Plantar fasciitis (or heel pain) is commonly traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. Our practice can evaluate arch pain, and may prescribe customized shoe inserts called orthoses to help alleviate the pain. 

Corns
Corns and calluses are protective layers of compacted, dead skin cells. They are caused by repeated friction from skin rubbing against bony areas or against an irregularity in a shoe. Corns ordinarily form on the toes and calluses on the soles of the feet.

Athlete's Foot
A chronic infection caused by various types of fungus, Athlete's foot is often spread in places where people go barefoot such as public showers or swimming pools. 

What is Malignant Melanoma?
Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the cells of the skin that produce pigmentation (coloration). It is also called malignant melanoma because it spreads to other areas of the body as it grows beneath the surface of the skin. Unlike many other types of cancer, melanoma strikes people of all age groups, even the young.

 

Melanoma in the Foot
Melanoma that occurs in the foot or ankle often goes unnoticed during its earliest stage, when it would be more easily treated. By the time melanoma of the foot or ankle is diagnosed, it frequently has progressed to an advanced stage, accounting for a higher mortality rate. This makes it extremely important to follow prevention and early detection measures involving the feet as well as other parts of the body.

Causes
Most cases of melanoma are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds. This exposure can include intense UV radiation obtained during short periods, or lower amounts of radiation obtained over longer periods.

Anyone can get melanoma, but some factors put a person at greater risk for developing this type of cancer. These include:

  • Fair skin; skin that freckles; blond or red hair
  • Blistering sunburns before the age of 18
  • Numerous moles, especially if they appeared at a young age

What Should You Look For?
Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin, even in areas of the body not exposed to the sun. Melanoma usually looks like a spot on the skin that is predominantly brown, black, or blue—although in some cases it can be mostly red or even white. However, not all areas of discoloration on the skin are melanoma.

There are four signs—known as the ABCDs of melanoma—to look for when self-inspecting moles and other spots on the body:

AsymmetryAsymmetry -- Melanoma is usually asymmetric, which means one half is different in shape from the other half.

BorderBorder -- Border irregularity often indicates melanoma. The border—or edge—is typically ragged, notched, or blurred.

ColorColor -- Melanoma is typically a mix of colors or hues, rather than a single, solid color.

DiameterDiameter -- Melanoma grows in diameter, whereas moles remain small. A spot that is larger than 5 millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser) is cause for concern.

If any of these signs are present on the foot, it is important to see a foot and ankle surgeon right away. It is also essential to see a surgeon if there is discoloration of any size underneath a toenail (unless the discoloration was caused by trauma, such as stubbing a toe or having something fall on it).

Diagnosis
To diagnose melanoma, the foot and ankle surgeon will ask the patient a few questions. For example: Is the spot old or new? Have you noticed any changes in size or color? If so, how rapidly has this change occurred?

The surgeon will also examine the spot to determine whether a biopsy is necessary. If a biopsy is performed and it reveals melanoma, the surgeon will discuss a treatment plan.

Prevention and Early Detection

Everyone should practice strategies that can help prevent melanoma—or at least aid in early detection, so that early treatment can be undertaken.

 

Precautions to avoid getting melanoma of the foot and ankle, as well as general precautions, include:

  • Wear water shoes or shoes and socks—flip flops do not provide protection!

  • Use adequate sunscreen in areas that are unprotected by clothing or shoes. Be sure to apply sunscreen on the soles as well as the tops of feet.

  • Inspect all areas of the feet daily—including the soles, underneath toenails, and between the toes.

  • If you wear nail polish, remove it occasionally so that you can inspect the skin underneath the toenails. Avoid UV radiation during the sun’s peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), beginning at birth. While sun exposure is harmful at any age, it is especially damaging to children and adolescents.

  • Wear sunglasses that block 100% of all UV rays—both UVA and UVB.

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat.

Remember: Early detection is crucial with malignant melanoma. If you see any of the ABCD signs—or if you have discoloration beneath a toenail that is unrelated to trauma—be sure to visit a foot and ankle surgeon as soon as possible.


Contact Us

We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest or question about podiatry!
Main Office #: (604) 248-8985
Main Fax: 604-248-8986

Our Location

Office Hours
Monday:1:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday:9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday:9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday:1:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Friday:9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Saturday:9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday:Closed