What is a Plantar Fibroma?

A plantar fibroma may present as a small mass on the sole of the foot. Plantar fibromas are benign tumors that are found in the plantar fascial ligament of the foot. The plantar fascia is a ligament that supports the arch of your foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. Plantar fibromas may occur as a single lesion or multiple nodules. The medial and central band of the plantar fascia are frequently affected. Patients usually present with this issue in the 2nd to 6th decade of life. The fibromas are typically slow growing and do not grow larger than an inch in size. Most fibromas are typically asymptomatic, some may grow large enough to be painful with weightbearing and ambulation.

The cause of plantar fibromas is relatively unknown but there may be a genetic association. Fibromas are more prevalent in males. Those with systemic conditions such as, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, alcoholism, and diabetes may also have an increased incidence of plantar fibromas.

A clinical exam and X-ray would be sufficient for diagnosis, biopsies are usually not necessary. An ultrasound may also be ordered to further investigate the nodule. Your healthcare provider may order further imaging such as an MRI if they are suspicious of a more serious soft tissue mass that is possibly malignant or as a part of surgical planning. Asymptomatic fibromas may just be observed. If fibromas are painful, your podiatrist may suggest accommodative padding or insoles. The insole may have a cut out where the nodules exist to offload pressure to the area. Corticosteroid injections may also be offered to help alleviate pain and to attempt to reduce the size of the nodules. Surgery would involve removing the masses with surrounding portions of the plantar fascia. Risks of surgery include recurrence, wound complications and damage to local structures. Call your podiatrist today if you have questions or concerns about your plantar fibroma.

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