Plantar Fibroma

By Gary N. Friedlander DPM, FACFAS and Jay C. Larson DPM
January 02, 2017
Category: Foot Problems

Imagine after a long day of work, you return home and find your favorite spot on the couch. Soon your favorite TV show has you lulled into a semi-cognizant trance as the worries of the day fade away.  Your barely aware as you give yourself a well-deserved foot massage.  Suddenly, as you rub your thumb along the bottom of your foot, you notice a marble sized bump that you never noticed before.  But before you start to panic let me tell you about Plantar Fibromas.

What is a Plantar Fibroma?

Plantar Fibroma’s are probably one of the most common benign soft tissue tumors on the bottom of the feet.  They are often described as nodules or thickenings of the Plantar Fascia that are typically asymptomatic, meaning you are unaware that they are even there.   If they do become painful, it is often because they change the contour of the bottom of your feet, causing pain when you walk.  Plantar Fibromas often show up in both feet, and can occur in all ages and equally in both genders, however the condition is often more progressive in males in their 70’s. Plantar fibroma’s may or may not be painful, but regardless of symptoms, an evaluation by your Podiatrist is necessary.

What Causes a Plantar Fibroma?

The causes of plantar fibromas are largely unknown, but the following are possible reasons plantar fibromas may appear:

  • Hereditary/Genetic

  • Repetitive Trauma

  • Medications such as phenytoin (Dilantin)

  • Long-Term alcohol consumption

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Chronic Liver Disease

  • Diabetes Mellitus

  • Epilepsy

 

What are the Plantar Fibroma treatment options?

First the diagnosis of a Plantar Fibroma is often made based on the clinical presentation, the use of various imaging techniques such as ultrasound or MRI, and biopsy results.  Once a diagnosis is made, conservative treatment options include shoe modifications, custom orthotics, padding, NSAIDs, steroid injections, and physical therapy.  If the fibroma becomes symptomatic and the pain becomes unbearable, surgical intervention may be recommended to remove the fibroma.  It should be noted that Plantar Fibroma’s have a high rate of recurrence after surgery. In an attempt to reduce this rate of recurrence, it is recommended to remove a large portion of the plantar fascia along with the fibroma.

Conclusion

Plantar Fibroma’s can range from having no symptoms to significantly debilitating lesions that can interrupt your daily activities.  Although their growth rate is generally slow, it is wise to consult your Podiatrist, and to have him or her monitor its progress and to determine a proper course of treatment.  At Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists, we have the expertise to meet your needs.  So the next time your feet are between a rock and a hard place, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander of Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.

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