What is the Plantar Fibroma?
A plantar fibroma is a fibrous knot (nodule) in the arch of the foot. It is embedded within the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that extends from the heel to the toes on the bottom of the foot. If there is a noticeable lump in your arch that feels firm to the touch, you may have a plantar fibroma. Unfortunately, it won’t go away without treatment.
A plantar fibroma can develop in one or both feet, is benign (non-malignant), and usually will not go away or get smaller without treatment. Definitive causes for this condition have not been clearly identified.
Subungal Exostosis Before
Subungal Exostosis After
Plantar Fibroma Symptoms
The most evident of symptoms is a noticeable lump in the arch that feels firm to the touch- This mass can remain the same size or get larger over time, or additional fibromas may develop.
Individuals with plantar fibroma may or may not have pain. When pain does occur, it is often caused by shoes pushing against the lump in the arch, although it can also arise when walking or standing barefoot.
Plantar Fibroma Treatment Options
Non-surgical treatment may help relieve the pain of a plantar fibroma, although it will not make the mass disappear. The foot and ankle surgeon may select one or more of the following non-surgical options:
- Steroid injections. Injecting corticosteroid medication into the mass helps to shrink it and relieve the pain that occurs when walking. This reduction may be only temporary and the fibroma could slowly return to its original size.
- Orthotic devices. If the fibroma is stable, custom orthotic devices (shoe inserts) may alleviate the discomfort by distributing the patient’s weight away from the fibroma.
- Physical therapy. The pain is sometimes treated through physical therapy methods that deliver anti-inflammatory medication into the fibroma without the need for injection.
If the mass increases in size or pain, the patient should be further evaluated. Surgical treatment to remove the fibroma is considered if the patient continues to experience pain following non-surgical approaches.
Surgical removal of a plantar fibroma may result in a flattening of the arch or development of hammertoes. Orthotic devices may be prescribed to provide support to the foot. Due to the high incidence of recurrence with this condition, continued follow-up with the foot and ankle surgeon is recommended.
To find out which treatment is right for you – schedule an appointment with our Park Avenue office in New York! And if you aren’t sure what is going on with the arch of your foot – don’t worry. Just select ‘General Consultation’ and you can discuss it privately in person with Dr. Levine during your appointment.