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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 56-57  

Piezogenic pedal tumors of obesity: Unusual presentation of an innocuous dermatosis

1 Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Employees' State Insurance Corporation Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad, Haryana, India
2 Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana, India

Date of Web Publication20-Jan-2017

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dipankar De
Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012, Punjab and Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.198757

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How to cite this article:
Singh S, Khullar G, De D. Piezogenic pedal tumors of obesity: Unusual presentation of an innocuous dermatosis. Indian Dermatol Online J 2017;8:56-7

How to cite this URL:
Singh S, Khullar G, De D. Piezogenic pedal tumors of obesity: Unusual presentation of an innocuous dermatosis. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Sep 27];8:56-7. Available from: http://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2017/8/1/56/198757


Piezogenic pedal papules (PPP) are tiny, skin-colored, round, prominences that arise due to herniation of subcutaneous fat into the dermis under compressive stress. We herein report the unusual presentation of PPP as large nodules in an obese patient.

A 55-year-old woman presented with multiple nodules on the medial and lateral borders of both feet for 4 years. The lesions were gradually increasing in number and size and were painful on standing and walking. There was neither a history of preceding local trauma or excessive physical activity nor family history of similar lesions. She was a known case of rheumatoid arthritis for 25 years. She was obese (body mass index, 30.1 kg/m 2). Examination while standing revealed multiple discrete, skin-colored nodules 1–3.5 cm in size, involving predominantly the sides of heels, extending up to midway along the medial and lateral borders of both feet [Figure 1]a. They were soft in consistency with a positive buttonhole sign. The lesions became less prominent and less painful on raising feet above the ground [Figure 1]b. Other cutaneous and systemic examinations were within normal limits. Based on the above clinical findings, a diagnosis of piezogenic pedal papules was made. Fine-needle aspiration cytology was normal. She did not agree to skin biopsy and radiological imaging of the nodules. Because she was subsequently diagnosed with bronchoalveolar carcinoma and the pain associated with PPP was tolerable, she declined any treatment for the latter. She did not experience any change in the lesions over next 4 years.
Figure 1: (a) Nodules on the medial side of the heel, extending to the medial border of right foot in weight-bearing position. (b) Lesions are less prominent on relieving the pressure off the heel

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The prevalence of PPP ranges from 2.4% to 100% in healthy adults.[1] The etiologic factors for PPP include heredity, strenuous physical activity as in weightlifters, marathon runners, and Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.[1] It has also been reported in association with Prader–Willi syndrome,[2] rheumatic heart disease,[3] and rheumatoid arthritis.[4] Although PPP has been reported in a single patient with rheumatoid arthritis, it is unclear if it was a causal or a spurious association.[4] Lesional pain occurs due to ischemia resulting from entrapment of fat and its accompanying neurovascular bundles, is found in less than 10% cases, more commonly reported in females and typically occurs on weight bearing in larger lesions following repeated trauma. The diagnosis of PPP is clinical and the existing literature suggests that histopathology probably does not have a role either in the diagnosis or in the management.

In view of the pressure-induced lesional changes, pain on weight bearing, and clinical morphology, we favored a diagnosis of PPP but our patient had several unusual features. Most importantly, majority of the lesions were relatively large in size (2.5–3.5 cm) in contrast to the existing literature (0.2–2 cm, average 0.8 cm)[1],[3],[4],[5] and could therefore be labeled as nodules/tumors rather than papules. Obesity resulting in increased pressure on the heels may possibly explain the development of large PPP in our patient. Although increase in diameter of PPP with increasing age and body weight has been reported in children,[5] obesity as a factor in the development of PPP has not been suggested in adults. Furthermore, the lesions were only partially reducible on release of pressure in our case (and completely reducible only on manual reduction). In contrast, typical PPP lesions characteristically disappear on taking the foot off the ground. Hence, we propose the name piezogenic pedal tumors of obesity.

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There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Woodrow SL, Brereton-Smith G, Handfield-Jones S. Painful piezogenic pedal papules: Response to local electro-acupuncture. Br J Dermatol 1997;136:628-30.  Back to cited text no. 1
Schepis C, Greco D, Siragusa M, Romano C. Piezogenic pedal papules during Prader-Willi syndrome. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol2005;19:136-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
Karadag AS, Bilgili SG, Guner S, Yilmaz D. A cases series of piezogenic pedal papules. Indian Dermatol Online J 2013;4:369-71.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Ronnen M, Suster S, Huszar M, Schewach-Millet M. Solitary painful piezogenic pedal papule in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. Int J Dermatol 1987;26:240-1.  Back to cited text no. 4
van Straaten EA, van Langen IM, Oorthuys JW, Oosting J. Piezogenic papules of the feet in healthy children and their possible relation with connective tissue disorders. Pediatr Dermatol 1991;8:277-9.  Back to cited text no. 5


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