If you or a family member has pain and stiffness on the bottom of your foot and it is becoming harder to walk, you may have an uncommon disease called plantar fibroma.
In this condition, the deep connective tissue in your feet, called the fascia, thickens and nodules or cords begin to grow along the foot’s tendons. As the disease progresses, these cords thicken causing the toes to stiffen and bend. Because of the stiffness of the tissue and tendons, it becomes painful to walk.
The nodules are benign tumors and usually grow very slowly. They are most often located in the center of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs underneath your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Sometimes these nodules are present but remain dormant even for years, and then can grow rapidly.
Plantar Fibroma Symptoms
Normally the lump that forms from the fibroma is painless. It may hurt occasionally when the nodule rubs on walking surfaces or on shoes. Also, as the fibroma grows, it can put pressure on blood vessels and nerves which can cause pain during weight-bearing activities.
It’s unclear what causes a plantar fibroma, although there may be a genetic tendency to this disease. Other causes may be wearing high heels that stretch the plantar fascia; trauma leading to a strong healing response to something like a puncture wound; even certain medications.
Diagnosing and Treating Plantar Fibroma
To diagnose a plantar fibroma, Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM will make a thorough examination of your foot. Other conditions like cysts, tendon ruptures and nerve tumors can also result in soft-tissue masses in the foot. We will take x-rays and also an MRI imaging test to reveal this mass next to the plantar tissue.
Non-invasive treatments can lessen the pain of a plantar fibroma, including:
- Stretching exercises
- Changing to lightweight, flat footwear with plenty of room for the toes
- Toe spacers to help distribute weight over joints and bones
Cryosurgery, or freezing the growths, can be successful in shrinking the fibroma with little to no post-surgery pain or complications.
If these conservative measures don’t help, we’ll discuss surgical removal of the growth especially in extreme, painful situations.
Have Foot Pain? Give Us a Call!
Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat all types of foot and ankle problems, including plantar fibroma. Most treatments and surgeries can be handled right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. A fibroma won’t go away on its own – call us today to begin relieving your pain.