What is a plantar fibroma?
A plantar fibroma is a benign (non-cancerous) nodule that typically grows in the arch of the foot. Plantar fibromas are small — usually less than an inch — and grow on the arch of your foot. You might not even notice one at first, but eventually, a plantar fibroma can cause foot pain, especially when you’re wearing shoes.
Plantar fibromas are always benign, which means they’re never a symptom (or cause) of cancer. If you get plantar fibromas frequently, you might be diagnosed with plantar fibromatosis, a condition that means you’ve shown a tendency to develop future plantar fibromas.
Who gets plantar fibromas?
Plantar fibromas can appear in anyone, and they have no confirmed cause, but you might be more likely to develop one if you are:
• Older than 40: Older adults — especially those between 40 and 60 — seem more likely to develop plantar fibromas than younger people.
• A man: Men are twice as likely to develop plantar fibromatosis than women.
• Of European descent: People of European descent are more prone to plantar fibromas than other ethnicities.
• Share a genetic predisposition: Studies suggest the tendency to develop plantar fibromas may be genetically inherited, meaning you might be more likely to if someone in your immediate family gets them.
You may also be at increased risk of developing plantar fibromas if you have other health conditions, including:
• Alcohol use disorder.
How common are plantar fibromas?
Plantar fibromas are rare. Fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. each year develop one.
How does a plantar fibroma affect my body?
In many ways, a plantar fibroma has little to no effect on your body. You may never notice it all. But, as it grows, it can cause pain and pressure in your foot.
Even though plantar fibromas themselves are not dangerous, you should talk to your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any new growths on your foot or changes to its shape. Your provider will rule out other, more serious issues with a physical exam and imaging tests.
How to Get Rid Of Plantar Fibroma
According to Medical news daily, the treatment of plantar fibroma aims to alleviate pain and reduce the size of the mass. Small plantar fibromas that do not cause symptoms may not require any treatment.
Treatment options for larger or painful fibromas include:
Topical gel: A topical gel treats plantar fibroma by stopping the growth of fibrosis tissue. Some gels claim that they can alleviate pain within a few months of use. Evidence for its effectiveness is limited.
Corticosteroid shot: Getting an injection of steroid drugs into the mass can reduce pain and inflammation, which may allow people to stand and walk with greater ease. A corticosteroid shot is often considered a temporary solution because it does not stop the fibroma from growing.
Orthotic insoles and pads: Pain caused by a fibroma may be eased by wearing a shoe insole or pad. These orthotic inserts redistribute body weight throughout the foot to reduce pressure on the arch and fibroma. Orthotics can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) or custom made.
Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises help by:
· reducing inflammation
· increasing circulation to the foot
· encouraging the growth of new cells
A physical therapist can develop a program of exercises for people with a plantar fibroma.
Surgery: Physical therapy may help to reduce pain by increasing circulation. Surgery may be necessary in some cases, particularly if a fibrous mass continues to grow in size or causes increasing pain and discomfort. Surgical removal of a fibroma, however, can increase the risk of other foot conditions developing, these could include flat foot and hammertoe. Surgery is usually only considered after other treatments have failed.
How long does it take for a plantar fibroma to go away?
Depending on the treatment method adopted, it takes between 1-2 weeks to alleviate pain and reduce the size of the mass. It will take at least 6 weeks for the excised portion of the plantar fibroma to heal in a cast and recovery from surgery can take up to 8 weeks. There is a risk of fibroma recurrence following surgery, especially in cases of multiple nodules.