I have a funny bump in the fleshy part of my thumb — maybe that’s called the web space. I can move it around so it doesn’t seem to be growing out of the bone. It doesn’t hurt but it bothers me. Should I have it removed?

Without a proper diagnosis, it would be hard to say what kind of treatment is advised. The first step is to see your physician and at least get a baseline examination. Based on your history of any hand trauma, personal or family history of cancer, and type of work or recreational activities, the physician will take it the next step.

Physical examination and testing of the forearm, hand, and fingers will guide the physician in ordering further tests (e.g., blood work, X-rays). You may be referred to a specialist such as a hand surgeon.

Most lumps and bumps in the hand are benign tumors affecting the bone or nearby soft tissues. Soft tissue involvement can include the muscles, tendons, fat, nerves, blood vessels, cartilage, joint, or synovium.

Benign doesn’t necessarily mean “harmless”. It means the tumor won’t spread to other vital structures. But it can get larger and put pressure on nearby structures. The end result can be loss of motion, strength, and function. Deformity and disability are even possible.

That’s why we take you back to the beginning and repeat the idea that an early medical evaluation is important. Early diagnosis and intervention are said to yield the best results. You may still end up in a medical “wait-and-see” situation but under the watchful eye and care of your physician, you’ll know when something more is needed.