Be on the lookout for unusual-looking moles around areas of your skin that are exposed to the sun on a regular basis, such as the arms, chest, or face. However, foot melanoma is pretty common and can occur especially in the skin that’s exposed when you wear sandals on a sunny day.
On the skin, melanoma looks like moles that continue to evolve in shape, size, and color. These moles also have uneven borders and asymmetrical sides. Rather than being one solid color like most moles, melanomas tend to have a combination of colors. They are often brown, but can sometimes be red, tan, or white. Blue or black moles are also possible.
There are four signs—known as the ABCDs of melanoma—to look for when self-inspecting moles and other spots on the body:
Asymmetry — Melanoma is usually asymmetric, which means one half is different in shape from the other half.
Border — Border irregularity often indicates melanoma. The border—or edge—is typically ragged, notched, or blurred.
Color — Melanoma is typically a mix of colors or hues, rather than a single, solid color.
Diameter — 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).
If you see any of the ABCD signs—or if you have discoloration beneath a toenail that is unrelated to trauma—be sure to contact us as as soon as possible.