Sarcomas of the Foot and Ankle

Updated 8/21/2018
Foot Sarcoma, University Foot and Ankle Institute

Sarcomas are cancerous tumors that grow in muscles, fat, joints, nerves or blood vessels. Though they are rare, occurring in only 30 cases out of a million people, they can be very serious, and should be treated immediately.


Medical researchers have connected soft tissue sarcomas to exposure chemicals, high-dose radiation, viral infections, and genetic abnormalities. In most cases, however, the cause is unknown.


UFAI, the right choice for your Foot and ankle care


The physicians at University Foot and Ankle Institute are experts at identifying masses of the foot and ankle. We have the latest technologies available to ensure an accurate diagnose and proper treatment selection.

Symptoms of a Synovial Sarcoma

Symptoms of sarcoma in the foot and ankle vary. In some cases, the sarcoma is a visible lump and can look much like a benign ganglion cyst. The mass may have been slowly growing for months, years or even decades. Some sarcomas cause no pain while others are painful right from the outset.



How is soft tissue Sarcoma diagnosed?

UFAI physicians are expertly trained at identifying all types of masses on your feet and ankles. If your doctor suspects that your cyst is, in fact, a soft tissue sarcoma, he will use MRI imaging to see the size and depth of the mass.


MRI's are also used for guiding biopsies, checking the tumor's response to treatments, and observing the disease progression.


A simple X-ray may also be used to study large, deep, soft tissue masses that are fixed to bone.



Treatment of soft tissue Sarcoma

If your UFAI physician determines that you have a soft tissue sarcoma, he will most likely refer you to an oncologist, a doctor who specializes in cancer treatments.


The oncologist’s main goal is to control the local and distant spread of the tumor with the least amount of disruption of your quality of life. The key is removing the tumor through surgery.


Treatment options varying depending on several factors, including:

  • Size, grade and stage of the sarcoma
  • Patient’s age and general health
  • Speed as which cancer cells are growing and dividing
  • Whether all of the cancer was removed in surgery
  • Whether the cancer has recurred

Radiation and Chemotherapy are often combined with surgery to lower the risk of recurrence. Radiation and chemotherapy can be administered either before or after the tumor is removed. The timing of the therapy depends upon the tumor site and the doctor's judgment.


Your oncologist will tell you how important it is to keep your follow-up visits after treatment. Tumors that come back may cause a serious problem and it’s best to catch them early.

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