A plantar fibroma is a benign (non-malignant) nodule that forms within the soft tissue (plantar fascia) under the feet. The plantar fascia is a band of fibrous tissue that runs from the heel to the toes. Unfortunately, plantar fibromas are unlikely to get smaller or go away. The causes of fibromas are not clearly understood. It can be associated with conditions such as dupuytrens which may also be found in the hands.
How do I know if I have a Plantar Fibroma?
The characteristic signs of a plantar fibroma are thick nodules in the plantar arch, or a noticeable firm lump under the arch of the foot. This mass may get larger or multiple lumps may form over time. However, the lump may also remain the same size over your lifetime.
Diagnosis is usually in the form of examination of the lesion and a history of its development. However, a diagnosis can also be achieved using ultrasound, or MRI imaging tests.
These tests can also rule out differential diagnoses such as cysts, granulomas, and malignancies.
Why is it Painful?
Pain is usually a result of direct irritation of the fibroma in shoes or from poor biomechanics. Fibromas may also present without pain.
Reducing direct pressure on the fibroma as well as stretching the tissue to release the adhesions can be very useful in managing the pain.
Soft bastel products with specific unloading areas are very effective in reducing painful pressure.
Radial shockwave therapy has been successfully used to treat this condition also.
Unlike in hands, surgery is seldom required for removal in the foot.
How can Plantar Fibromas be Treated?
Non-surgical treatment is recommended for plantar fibromas. Unfortunately, non-surgical treatment will not get rid of the lump but it will reduce the associated pain.
Non-surgical management consists of:
Footwear selection to avoid pressure on the painful area or lump
Orthotics can be used to help distribute pressure away from the plantar fibroma.
Shock wave therapy can reduce the pain and bulk of the lesion in some cases.
Steroid Injections can help. A steroid injection is an anti-inflammatory medication that can reduce inflammation and pain associated with the fibroma. If successful, it may become easier to walk, stand and wear shoes.
In severe cases, surgery may be considered. This involves removing the fibroma. However, this procedure increases your chances of having a flattened arch or the formation of digital deformities such as hammertoes.
Still in Pain?
Are you are feeling like you have tried everything but are still in pain?
Do you feel like you have seen every health practitioner you can about your plantar fibroma?
We have a track record of diagnosing and successfully treating cases that have previously proven difficult to resolve and we’d love to help you get back on your feet doing what you love.
Call us or drop us an e-mail & we’ll get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your plantar fibroma and some possible solutions. You can also book an appointment online.
Providing the people of Waikato with a centre of podiatry excellence