The 26 Review
- What is Plantar Fibroma A plantar fibroma is a noncancerous growth in the arch of the foot.
- Causes Trauma, genetics, and sometimes unknown
- Symptoms A prominent bump in the arch, pain, tightness, and swelling
- Diagnosis Physical examinations, MRIs, and biopsies
- Treatment Topical medications, corticosteroid injections, laser therapy, shoe modifications, physical therapy, and surgery
Let’s take a closer look…
Plantar Fibroma affects the arch of the foot causing pain and discomfort when pressure is applied to the area. A plantar fibroma is a benign growth that develops in the plantar fascia, the thick, fibrous tissue on the bottom of the foot. This tissue covers the area from the toes to the heels and stabilizes the arch. A plantar fibroma grows slowly over time and can affect one or both feet. Plantar fibroma vary in size from less than an inch to a mass that can encompass the entire plantar fascia. In some cases, there may be multiple fibromas in the arch of the foot. A condition called plantar fibromatosis can develop if the nodule grows larger and other nodules can develop on the sole of the foot. That being said, this condition is rare and most patients with plantar fibroma only struggle with an isolated plantar fibroma. Although this condition can affect people of all ages and genders, it typically occurs in young or middle-aged adults. Those who are assigned male at birth are more likely to be affected. Although there is no exact cause known, there is a genetic correlation between people of Northern European descent and plantar fibroma. To continue to learn more about this painful arch condition, continue reading on.
A plantar fibroma affects patients differently. Some people may develop a small growth that doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort, while others can experience persistent pain that doesn’t dissipate with medications or conventional therapies. If you or someone you know experience pain while walking, standing and/or wearing shoes consider having your arches checked for a plantar fibroma.
When it comes to diagnosing plantar fibroma, a trained eye is crucial. This condition typically doesn’t heal on its own, so if you believe you may have this condition, set up an appointment with a podiatrist. At the appointment the medical professional will first conduct a physical examination of the foot. This physical examination will include applying pressure to the nodule. Diagnosing on appearance alone typically isn’t recommended. A doctor will most likely recommend additional testing like X-rays and/or an MRI. These imaging tests can confirm a plantar fibroma and rule out other conditions, like cysts, malignancies and granulomas. In rare cases, a podiatrist may remove a sample of the tissue and perform a biopsy of the lesion for further information.
It is not likely a plantar fibroma will regress on its own, but it can. In cases where treatment is desired, the goal is to reduce pain, discomfort and decrease the size of the nodule. Treatment is typically based on the severity of the nodule, so speaking with a podiatrist is the best way to develop an individual treatment plan. Typical treatment plans include topical medications, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and at time surgery. Topical treatments such as topical CBD ointments can help alleviate painful symptoms associated with swelling and inflammation. Corticosteroid injection is an anti-inflammatory medication. Injecting a corticosteroid into the lump can reduce pain and inflammation enough to walk, stand and wear shoes comfortably. This treatment option is effective for relieving any inflammation, but the nodule may continue to grow. Laser therapy is another painless conservative option that is effective in reducing the symptoms associated with enlarged or inflamed Plantar Fibroma. Physical therapy can help break down tissue accumulated in the foot. Strength training and stretching exercises can increase blood circulation and reduce inflammation and pain, however there are no significant results for getting rid of the nodule. Lastly in severe cases surgery is an option. This procedure can flatten the arch of the foot and increase a patient’s risk of hammer toe. Recovery for surgery takes roughly 4-6 weeks. Those interested in home remedies should consider treatment with orthotics. This nonsurgical treatment redistributes one’s body weight and in turn relieves plantar fibroma-associated pain. Speak with your doctor to determine which treatment plan is right for you.