What is a Lesion?

“Lesion” is one of those words that doctors toss around as though everyone understands it. We may say something like “Let’s take a look at this lesion here under your foot.” And you may have only a vague notion of what that means. Is it a cut? A scrape? A red mark? What exactly is a lesion and should you be worried when you hear the word?

Benign Lesions

For the most part, the answer is no. Just the word “lesion” is not cause for worry. “Lesion” is simply a generic term for any mark on a person’s body that makes one area of the skin look different from the area next to it. There may be a difference in color or in texture – or both.

On your feet, a lesion could be as simple as a corn or a callus – a thickening of the skin. A wart is considered a lesion because it changes the skin’s texture. Other examples of lesions include

  • Rashes, such as measles or chicken pox
  • Moles
  • Freckles
  • Birthmarks
  • Insect bites
  • Burns

Corns, calluses, insect bites, burns, and birthmarks are examples of benign lesions – meaning that they are not cancerous. Some lesions, however, like moles and freckles, can change over time. Sometimes they crop up suddenly. These are the ones that the podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland want to help you keep an eye on.

Malignant Lesions

The time to worry about a lesion is when you notice that it looks different from before. It’s grown larger, or it’s changed color. It may be some kind of sore that you don’t remember seeing before, or a wound that’s been around for a while and it’s just not healing. These are signs that it may be malignant, or cancerous.

Any suspicious-looking lesion needs prompt attention by a doctor. Doctors are trained to evaluate lesions based on how they look, what shape they are, what color they are, how much of the skin they’re covering, whether or not they have changed over time, and lots of other defining features.

Our two podiatrists, Craig B. Frey, DPM and Megan L. Oltmann, DPM, are your partners in looking out for any lesions on your feet, ankles, and toes that may be cause for worry. Any change in your skin is something you should bring to our attention when you visit us at our office in Solon, Ohio. Our staff welcomes your questions about lesions; feel free to call us at (440) 903-1041 or request an appointment online.