You thought you forgot to wash your feet before going to bed. However, those white bumps on ankles were still there even after you took a bath. While they seem harmless, these white bumps can either go away on their own or a sign of an underlying medical condition. Whatever it is, it is important to seek proper diagnosis and analysis for treating accordingly.

What Causes White Bumps on Your Ankles?


Acne, a condition affecting approximately 50 million Americans, is commonly found on your face and back. Did you know that you could have them on your ankles too?

Although rare, acne on your ankles and even in legs happens due to accumulation of dead skin cells and excess oil in your hair follicles. This leads to clogging of pores; hence the development of acne even on your ankles.

These bumps are raised and white in color and may be accompanied by red rashes.


One of the most common reasons why you develop those bumps on your ankles is because the hair follicles in the area are inflamed. This condition is called folliculitis.

Folliculitis, also known as barber’s itch, happens as a result of fungal or bacterial infection. This condition starts with white bumps on ankles; then the infection will spread and lead to crusty and non-healing sores.

Don’t worry. This condition may not be life threatening. Unfortunately, this could be itchy, painful, and embarrassing.

Keratosis Pilaris

Have you had goosebumps, say while watching a horror film or listening to a great singer? Imagine those bumps on your ankles – and worse.

This condition is called Keratosis Pilaris, another common culprit for those white bums down there. It starts showing up as small, scaly, and rough white spots that are often painless, which is also similar to goosebumps. It also gives your ankles a rough feel similar to sandpaper.

Keep in mind that keratin is a type of hard protein that protects your skin. Unfortunately, the buildup of keratin may block the opening of your pores, thereby forming hard plugs. This leads to rough, bumpy skin in white color that is non-cancerous.

Skin Cancer

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer. In fact, there are more new cases of skin cancer every year compared to the number of lung, breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Apparently, these white bumps on ankles could signify skin cancer of the feet and you need to pay attention.

Your feet are also susceptible to skin cancer. It could be:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma – This is often seen on sun-exposed areas. Your feet are less exposed to the sun, which makes this type of skin cancer less common. Still, this could happen by forming pearly white patches or bumps that could crest, similar to open sores.

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This is the most common form of cancer on the skin of your feet. It starts with small and scaly bumps that look inflamed. It doesn’t have white bumps but the appearance is similar to eczema or fungal infection.

Tips on How to Deal with White Bumps

Managing and treating these bumps will depend on the cause. For less serious cases, here’s what you can do:

  • Wash your skin, especially your feet using oil-free cleaners.

  • Moisturize your skin to keep your skin soft and prevent keratin deposits from clogging your pores.

  • Exfoliate regularly, preferably two to three times a week, using creams that contain salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, or vitamin D.

  • Avoid irritating your skin to prevent the trigger of bumps on your ankles.

  • Use medicated cream with salicylic acid, benzyl peroxide, or sulfur in case the white bumps on ankles are caused by acne.

  • In case of folliculitis, use an electric razor to reduce inflammation to your hair follicles. Before you shave, make sure you clean your feet and massage the area using an oil-free moisturizer to make it easier for you to pull out the hair. Don’t forget the moist cloth to lift the hair easily and comfortably.

  • Consider medicated ointments or oral antibiotics in case of severe causes of folliculitis.

  • Keep your skin healthy and clean at all times by observing proper cleaning hygiene habit and eating healthy and nutritious foods.

  • Consider getting a humidifier to maintain adequate moisture level in your room.

In some instances, the white bumps on your ankles will go away on their own. Still, this does not mean you should wait for that day to happen. Small bumps, no matter how harmless they seem, can become serious and lead to scarring or destruction of hair follicles. It is best to seek medical help to determine the cause for these white bumps, and get the appropriate treatment.


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