Should You be Worried about Plantar Fibroma?
The plantar fibroma is a condition where a noncancerous or benign growth appears in the arch of your foot.
It can develop in anyone but it typically occurs in middle-aged individuals, mostly men.
The condition develops in the plantar fascia, the thick tissue on the bottom of your feet which ranges from your heel to your toes.
It’s responsible for assisting with stabilization and balance of the arches of your feet.
Occurring first as a small bump on the bottom of the foot, often unnoticeable, it begins to grow large enough to become mildly painful and bothersome.
Below we have outlined concerns, causes, symptoms, and treatments for plantar fibroma and similar conditions.
Should You be Worried about Plantar Fibroma?
Plantar fibroma often begins as a single lesion.
If it continues to enlarge, it can develop into a condition called plantar fibromatosis, otherwise known as Ledderhose disease.
This condition causes several large lesions to develop on the plantar or sole of your foot.
There is little cause for concern for minor, less severe cases of plantar fibromas.
They are benign and, in most cases, regress on their own.
However, if you experience discomfort, pain, or worsening symptoms please see your doctor immediately for a more thorough examination of the area.
What Causes Plantar Fibroma?
Plantar fibroma has no exact cause known as of today.
Experts claim genetics may be a cause, given the fact that research has found that people of European descent tend to have a higher rate of the condition.
Medication and other supplements may cause a growth of fibrous tissue including; Vitamin C, glucosamine, select beta-blockers, and some anti-seizure medicine. Please keep in mind research has not proven these claims.
Trauma-related injuries are believed by some researchers to be a cause of plantar fibromas. The tears from injury can cause fascia tissue to build and promote the growth of nodes.
Other possible causes of plantar fibroma include:
- Footwear – Improper fitting shoes which cause unbalanced arches, or a raised toe box can lead to the overly stretched plantar fascia.
- Genetics – Plantar fibroma symptoms are often found in those whose family has a history with the condition.
- Pre-Existing Health Conditions – Diseases like diabetes, epilepsy, and thyroid conditions may increase the likelihood of the plantar fibromas.
The cause of plantar fibroma remains unclear, therefore prevention and curing the condition is a challenge.
Also Read: What Causes Lump on the Back of Your Neck?
What are the Symptoms of Plantar Fibroma?
The main symptom of plantar fibroma is a slow-growing lump in the arch of the foot or a lump on the side of the foot, usually less than an inch in size.
In most cases, the lump is unnoticeable and causes little to no pain or interference in daily tasks.
However, it can increase in size over time which can cause other symptoms and pain which should be treated with caution.
Plantar fibroma symptoms also include or can worsen in circumstances including; pressure on the lump, tight or restrictive footwear, and stand for long periods of time.
What Are the Treatment Options for Plantar Fibroma
Treatment of plantar fibroma is mainly geared around pain reduction to solve any discomfort and reduce the size of the growth.
Depending on the severity, a variety of treatment options are possible; some of which are natural and others more serious.
1. Topical Treatment
Topical treatments can be used, such as a transdermal verapamil gel which can help to remodel the tissue around the affected area.
Research supporting this gel is minimal, like most treatment options for fibromas.
If you plan to go the route of topical treatment, please see your doctor to receive a prescription for the gel and application instructions along with the length of treatment.
2. Corticosteroid Injections
Inflammation can be the cause of a variety of negative bodily functions and conditions including plantar fibromas.
A corticosteroid is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication commonly used for pain and inflammation reduction. This can help ease the burden of walking, standing, and wearing shoes daily.
Surgery can become necessary if severe cases of plantar fibroma if the mass continues to grow and impact your life.
Though surgery is the last resort option, it is possible to surgically remove the fibroma to ease pain and discomfort.
Surgery is a last resort treatment for fibromas since in most cases, they usually heal themselves with the application of natural treatments.
Complications can include the development of other foot conditions such as a flat foot or hammertoe.
Lastly, recurrence of the fibroma is possible with surgery since other nodes could exist in other areas of your foot.
Are there Any Natural Remedies for Plantar Fibroma?
Yes, there are some non-surgical effective natural remedies that can help you eliminate a fibroma.
They can be a less invasive, cheaper, and often faster way of treating the condition depending on the severity and genetics.
Supplements, stretching, physical therapy, and custom orthotics can help to ease suffering in the short term while the growth is being treated.
Orthotics are a form of non-surgical treatment allowing for customization of gel or foam pads and insoles in your shoes which aid the distribution of body weight throughout your feet.
Most people are likely to see benefit from using orthotics, especially those who are on their feet every day or live a more active lifestyle.
The primary benefit of orthotics is pain relief combined with the ability to perform daily tasks as the growth slowly dissipates over time.
Custom orthotics or over-the-counter insoles are both options to be considered. Please see your doctor and do your research based on their recommended footwear best suited to your lifestyle.
2. Stretching/Physical Therapy
Physical therapy and stretching are the most natural and common ways to break tissue up in areas of the foot.
Simple stretches which flex and stretch the bottoms of your feet near the plantar fibroma can relieve a lot of pain.
Stretching helps to increase blood flow and cell growth throughout your body and would be recommended by any physical therapist or doctor as part of a healthy daily regime anyway.
If you’re already active, talk to your physical therapist about ways to incorporate more foot specific training/stretching to help lessen your fibroma symptoms.
3. Supplements/Apple Cider Vinegar
Lastly, apple cider vinegar and its anti-inflammatory properties can work effectively to dissolve nodules. It helps to break down the tissue and reverse the progression of the growth.
The combination of apple cider vinegar with a good stretching routine and orthotics can be a few great places to start towards the treatment of a plantar fibroma.
Fausto de Souza D, Micaelo L, Cuzzi T, Ramos-e-Silva M. Ledderhose Disease: An Unusual Presentation. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2010;3(9):45-47. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945849/.
“Plantar Fibroma and Plantar Fibromatosis,” American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society; http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/conditions/ailments-of-the-heel/Pages/Plantar-Fibroma.aspx.
“Plantar Fibroma,” American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons; https://www.acfas.org/footankleinfo/Plantar_Fibroma.htm.