Signs & symptoms of bone cancer in the foot

foot with pool in the background. image by David Levinson from

Bone cancer affects more than 2,000 people each year in the United States. Children and adolescents are more likely than adults to develop cancer of the bone, which is a malignant tumour that destroys regularly functioning bone cells.

Mostly occurring in the long bones of the body, like the arms or legs, there are two types of bone cancer; primary, that which originates in the bone, and secondary, that which metastasises or spreads to the bone from another site already affected with cancer. Secondary, or metastasised, bone cancer is much more common than primary bone cancer.

Symptom - Pain

In most cases of bone cancer, pain at the location of the tumour is the number one symptom reported among sufferers. In the beginning, this pain can be felt during prolonged periods of activity or at night. This pain usually becomes more severe over time as the cancer progresses, however, the cancer and pain can be present for many months or even years before the patient ever thinks to see a doctor. If you're experiencing pain in your foot or leg and suspect that you have bone cancer, see your doctor so that she may complete a thorough exam.

Symptom - Lump

In addition to pain, a lump on the bone or on the surrounding tissues will be present. Keep in mind that this is not common to all types of bone cancer, and that a mass is not necessary for bone cancer to be present.

Symptom - Fracture and Joint Tenderness

Bone cancer weakens the bone itself and can lead to fractures even though no major trauma has occurred. Simply standing up from a seated position can be enough to crack a weakened bone. Inflammation and tender joints can also be a sign of bone cancer.


The treatment course for bone cancer depends on what type of cancer it is, its location and how aggressive it is. Chemotherapy and radiation are common treatment courses. In rare instances, bone cancer that has progressed can lead to amputation of the foot or leg.