A plantar fibroma is a tough lump that is located on the arch of your foot. A foot doctor can diagnose a plantar fibroma by performing an exam on your foot. The dense, fibrous tissue of one of these growths feels different from the rest of your foot’s arch. You may have one fibroma or several of them.
Because a plantar fibroma can impact your ability to walk, it is important to visit a doctor for evaluation and treatment. Podiatrists may order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to visualize the size of the plantar fibroma and to see if there are any other unusual issues going on with your foot.
How to Recognize the Symptoms of a Plantar Fibroma
A plantar fibroma usually grows on the inside of the sole of the foot, along the arch. They start small and can gradually or quickly grow up to two inches in diameter. The lumps feel smooth and rubbery to the touch. Pushing on the lump does not usually cause pain, but prolonged walking can irritate the tissue and cause aches. Wearing tight shoes may aggravate the fibroma, as can prolonged periods of standing or pressure on the area.
Causes of a Plantar Fibroma
Medical research has not found a particular reason why plantar fibromas develop. There may be a genetic component to this foot disorder. If your parent or sibling had a plantar fibroma, you might have an increased chance of developing one, too. Trauma or introduction of a foreign body are not known to be causes of plantar fibromas. In rare cases, a malignant soft tissue tumor may grow in the plantar fascia, resulting in a fibrous lump of tissue in your foot’s arch.
Plantar Fibroma Treatment Options
There is a range of treatments for plantar fibromas. Anti-inflammatory medications may reduce swelling of the soft tissue. Specialized shoe inserts can be made to reduce pain and pressure when you walk or stand. Corticosteroid injections may be able to shrink the size of the plantar fibroma. These injections can be done every six weeks for a total of up to five injections.
Surgery for plantar fibroma is only rarely performed. This is because of the high recurrence rate of the fibroma with this treatment option. Surgery is usually only considered if you are in considerable pain from the plantar growth.