Updated: Jul 16
At My Family Podiatry, we often have patients come to the clinic concerned about painful lumps through the arch underneath their feet. In many instances these are plantar fibromas. In this blog, we will explore what plantar fibromas are, why they occur, and how we can help.
What is Plantar Fibroma?
A plantar fibroma is a benign (non-cancerous) growth that develops within the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. These growths are composed of dense fibrous tissue and can vary in size, sometimes causing discomfort and pain as it presses on surrounding structures.
Why do Plantar Fibromas Occur?
The exact cause of plantar fibromas is still unknown, but it is believed that a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors may contribute to their development. Some possible risk factors include:
Biomechanics: Abnormal foot structure or gait patterns could contribute to the development of plantar fibromas.
Trauma: Repeated stress or injury to the plantar fascia may lead to fibroma formation.
Age: Plantar fibromas are more common in middle-aged and older adults.
Gender: Men are more likely to develop plantar fibromas than women.
Treatment Options for Plantar Fibroma
Fortunately, there are several effective treatment options for plantar fibromas. Depending on the size and location of the fibroma, as well as the level of discomfort experienced by the patient, treatment can range from conservative to more invasive approaches.
Offloading with Orthotics: Custom-made orthotics can help alleviate pain and discomfort by redistributing pressure away from the fibroma. These devices may also provide support for the arch of the foot, which can reduce tension on the plantar fascia and promote healing.
Shockwave Therapy: Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment that uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate the body's natural healing process. ESWT has been shown to be effective in reducing pain and discomfort associated with plantar fibromas and may even help to shrink the growth.
Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can help manage pain and inflammation associated with plantar fibromas. In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be administered to reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief.
Physical Therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as soft tissue mobilization techniques, may help improve foot function and alleviate symptoms.
Surgery: In rare cases where conservative treatments are ineffective, surgery may be considered to remove the fibroma. However, surgery carries risks, such as recurrence, and is typically reserved as a last resort.
If you suspect you have a plantar fibroma or have been suffering from persistent foot pain, it is important to consult with a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan. At My Family Podiatry, our experienced team is committed to helping you find relief from your foot discomfort. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards healthier, pain-free feet.