Lump on calf - what is the cause?

Dear Ask The Doctor:  Hello I have noticed I developed a dime sized hard lump on my calf under the skin right on the muscle. It does not hurt and I do not currently see any coloring. Could this just be a cyst? or any other ideas? I am going to make an appointment with my doc however it takes me over a month to get in so was just seeing if this is something serious or not. Thanks (ps great site) Aaron
 

Dear Patient:  Most lumps in the skin are benign and are commonly due to lipomas, sebaceous cysts or epidermoid cysts. Lipomas are benign fatty lumps found in between the skin and the muscle. It is usually not tender and no treatment is necessary. Surgical excision is only warranted for cosmetic reasons. Sebaceous cyst is formed due to trauma or an inflamed hair follicle into which keratin is secreted. These are usually tender to touch and may be inflamed. Warm compresses may help in acute conditions with surgical excision only required for severe cases.
 

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