Soft Tissue Mass Removal: Plantar Fibroma

The 26 Review

  • What is a Plantar Fibroma Removal A procedure to remove a growth in the arch of the foot
  • How The mass is removed through a small incision.
  • Why To relieve arch pain and improve ability to walk
  • Recommended for Patients not responding to conservative alternatives
  • Length of Treatment 30 minutes to an hour to complete
  • Downtime Recovery takes between 3 to 8 weeks.

Let’s take a closer look…

A fibroma is a benign fibrous tissue tumor or growth that can occur anywhere on or in the body. Plantar fibromas are rare growths that form on the bottom of the foot or the arch of the foot. The most common symptoms associated with this ailment are pain and mild discomfort, especially when wearing shoes. Depending on how big the plantar fibroma is, it can feel like a tiny marble or stone is embedded in the skin. The skin on the foot’s arch will curve outward around it or slightly bulge in a way that is unusual for the shape of the foot. Individuals should always get new growths or masses examined by a doctor as soon as they notice them, in order to rule out more serious conditions. There are no clear reasons why plantar fibromas develop. Individuals with diabetes, epilepsy, and alcohol use disorder are more likely to develop this condition, as well as people with genetic predispositions. When non-surgical measures for treating plantar fibromas, like orthotics, have failed to provide adequate relief of symptoms, surgical intervention is the next best option. Speak with your podiatrist if you believe you’ve developed plantar fibroma to determine the best treatment plan for you. 

Procedure Details: Pre, During & Post Surgery Expectations

It is very rare that surgery is required to treat a plantar fibroma, but it is an option for individuals whose symptoms don’t clear up and/or aren’t manageable. Prior to surgery, it is important to inform your medical provider of any health changes, allergies, and symptoms you may have. At this time, a physical examination, ultrasound, and/or an MRI will occur to determine exactly where the fibroma is located. Before surgery begins, patients will receive local or general anesthetic to numb the area. The surgeon will then explain how much of the foot’s tissues will be removed, as well as the extraction technique they plan on using. The first type of technique is called a local excision and during this procedure, only the plantar fibroma is removed. With a wide excision, the plantar fibroma and an area between 2 to 3 millimeters is removed. A plantar fasciectomy removes the entire plantar fascia ligament, however this surgery is extremely rare. A percutaneous fasciotomy removes only a portion of the plantar fascia near the heel. The type of surgery needed will depend on the severity of one’s symptoms, the size and exact location of the plantar fibroma, and whether or not the patient has developed a plantar fibroma in the past. All in all, once the fascia has been removed, the bottom of the foot is stitched closed. The surgical wound is then bandaged and the patient is required to not bear weight on the foot for a minimum of 1-2 weeks, depending on the nature of the procedure. After surgery, patients are highly advised to rest, ice, and elevate the affected foot and maintain a clean surgical site. The stitches are removed between 2 to 3 weeks post-op. Once the incision site is well healed, the patient may begin gentle calf stretching exercises and weight bearing with a soft soled shoe. Although patients can resume walking about 2-4 weeks after the surgery, normal activities, including sports, should be resumed at least 3 months after surgery. 

Benefits and Risk Factors

The main advantage of plantar fibroma removal is the removal itself, accompanied by the symptom relief. However, like any surgery, there are possible complications that may occur. Those complications can include infection, swelling, and numbness on the bottom of the foot. There is also the possibility of uncomfortable scarring on the bottom of the foot if the patient walks on the foot, damaging the incision before it is properly healed. The recurrence of the plantar fibroma is possible, although this threat becomes less likely to occur with the removal of the entire plantar fascia. For more information on the benefits and risks of plantar fibroma removal surgery, reach out to your podiatrist today.

Display your feet with confidence.

Elevating foot and ankle health for every step of your journey.