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Plantar Fibromas: Non-Cancerous Masses

Standing on anything that presses into your feet is very uncomfortable. Think about the last time you stepped on a small rock in bare feet, or had a pebble in your shoes. The hard mass sticks into your soft soles, causing pain. You can develop a similar problem in the foot tissues themselves if you have plantar fibromas.

Lumpy, Bumpy Soles

Plantar fibromas are benign tumors that develop in the plantar fascia band along the sole of the foot. These growths typically stay less than an inch in size and develop slowly over time. Usually you can feel a solid, firm mass under your sole. For most people, only one nodule develops; however, in rare cases, multiple benign, rapid-forming masses can grow as well. The little tumor is technically harmless, though it may cause pain. Standing, walking, and wearing shoes might cause the nodule to press painfully into the arch.

No one is quite sure what causes the nodules to develop, though several factors seem to influence the condition. You are more likely to have plantar fibromas if they run in your family. People struggling with diabetes, epilepsy, alcoholism, and thyroid problems also have a higher risk. Trauma may factor into the condition, since puncture wounds and micro tears can sometimes form nodules in the ligament. Significant use over many years may contribute to their formation as well—the growths typically appear in senior citizens.

Shrinking the Masses

Plantar fibromas do not get better on their own. With treatment, however, you can usually improve the condition and relieve any discomfort. First you’ll need to have the problem accurately diagnosed, so other possible issues—like cysts, infections, and cancer—are ruled out. Dr. Noah Levine will examine your feet carefully and use diagnostic images like X-rays or MRIs to identify the mass. Then our staff will help you begin treatment.

Managing and minimizing the nodules usually revolves around alleviating the pressure on them. This may involve simply changing your shoes, but often it includes custom orthotics like heel lifts or arch supports. These can provide extra cushioning under the mass, or correct foot mechanics so there is less strain on the plantar fascia. Sometimes night splints also help. Some topical medications may shrink the nodules as well.

If conservative methods are not successful, more invasive options are available. Direct injections of medications sometimes help, but they do not work for everyone. Occasionally they can even backfire and worsen the condition. Surgery can remove the mass from the ligament and eliminate the growth altogether, though you’ll still need to monitor your soles afterward, since fibromas can return.

Although not dangerous, plantar fibromas can still be uncomfortable and make wearing shoes or staying active more difficult. You don’t have to suffer with painful masses on the bottoms of your feet. At Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas, we can help you eliminate your discomfort. Call (702) 839-2010 or send us a request through our website to reach us for an appointment or more information.