There are many foot conditions that are well known, such as ankle sprains, bunions, and even plantar fasciitis. There is a condition called plantar fibroma that is a mystery to some and confusing to most. The word fibroma indicates a mass of fibrous tissue. It is known as a plantar fibroma, because it is located on the bottom of the foot. Typically the fibroma is embedded in the plantar fascia ligament.
A plantar fibroma is caused by one of two factors. First, some people simply have a predisposition to developing fibromas. In fact, some people have them on their foot and also in their wrist. The other cause is trauma. Small tears in the fibers of the plantar fascia can cause the ligament to thicken as damaged tissue heals. This leads to the formation of a fibroma.
The first sign of a fibroma is feeling the lump in the arch of the foot. You may feel it as you stand and walk, or possibly just notice it by touching and rubbing the bottom of your foot. There may or may not be pain associated with the fibroma. Additionally, the fibroma may stay the same size but it can also get larger with time.
Treatment for a plantar fibroma varies based on severity and pain level. A steroid injection will remove the inflammation surrounding a fibroma which will alleviate the pain. This, however, will not reduce the fibroma. An orthotic or insole could help to move pressure away from the fibroma to make it comfortable to stand, however the fibroma will still not be reduced. There is a compounded topical medication that can reduce the sensitivity and size of the fibroma.
For a fibroma that has not been successfully treated with conservative means, foot surgery is an option. Surgery is always saved as a last resort, since it involves weakening the plantar fascia ligament. This can result in the arch dropping and hammertoes developing. Open surgery is only indicated for when no other treatment has been effective.
There is a new treatment available for plantar fibromas. Tenex is a minimally invasive procedure that uses ultrasonic energy to remove the damaged fibers. This is done without damaging the healthy fibers and does not weaken the ligament. Because of this, the integrity of all structures remain and there is no weakening. This quick procedure is performed in an outpatient setting under mild sedation.
If you have noticed a bump or lump beneath your arch, whether it is painful or not, contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists for an appointment. Dr. Andrew Schneider will be able to discuss what the best treatment is for you.