Strange Foot Lesions: Identifying Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Part of what makes gems and jewelry valuable is their rarity. People throughout history have loved and invested in fancy, expensive pendants, rings, and more. You can enjoy famous, unique pieces, too, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s special exhibit: “Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces.” Of course, being rare doesn’t make everything valuable. Unusual foot lesions may be rare, but they are problems that need prompt treatment.

Kaposi’s sarcoma is a rare cancer whose lesions often appear on the lower limbs. The lesions start in the mucous linings of your body and in your skin, but they can metastasize to other areas, including the lungs, liver, and digestive system. This can cause internal bleeding, trouble with digestive functions, difficulty breathing, and a host of other issues. When the tumors reach this point, they are quite serious—and even life threatening. That’s why it’s important to identify the problem when the unusual spots first appear.

The lesions are distinct: you develop purple, red, or brown blotches, sometimes appearing similar to bruises. However, unlike bruises, the spot won’t turn white when you press on it. Tiny blood vessels form in the patch, which is usually flat in the beginning. The spot may grow into a raised bump later, or grow together with neighboring spots.

Usually these skin lesions are slow-growing, but some underlying conditions that increase your risk for the cancer may make the patches pop up more quickly. The splotches may or may not be painful overall. When you notice the unusual spots—often during a self-exam on your lower limbs—you need to have them carefully evaluated right away. That way our team at Parker Foot and Ankle can confirm or deny the cancer and treat your feet.

Most foot lesions are not rare cancers, but Kaposi’s sarcoma should be taken seriously. You want to catch the problem before it turns life-threatening. If you notice unusual, colored patches on your lower limbs, have them examined carefully. Our staff at Parker Foot & Ankle can help you; just call (281) 497-2850 or use the website contact form to make an appointment at our Houston office.

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