Last week I had a patient walk through the door with a painful bump on the bottom of his foot. He said it came out of nowhere without an injury or any known cause, so he was looking for answers.
It turned out to be a Plantar Fibroma. It's a condition I see occasionally in the office, sometimes because they are a source of pain, and sometimes coincidentally while I'm assessing for another problem.
What is a Plantar Fibroma?
The word "plantar" is an anatomical term meaning "bottom". Fibroma means "benign fibrous growth". So a plantar fibroma is a benign fibrous growth that develops on the bottom of the foot. It develops within the plantar fascia to be precise. The plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue that runs through the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. It is not totally agreed on why these growths develop, but most foot specialists would say that it is likely from trauma to the plantar fascia.
They can range in size and pain level. Sometimes a plantar fibroma is longstanding, never causing any pain, but often times they get irritated from rubbing in footwear, or from stepping on an object. If they get aggravated, they become inflammed and enlarge, thus becoming more likely to be re-aggravated, so the cycle continues.
How is a Plantar Fibroma Treated?
1. Stop the Inflammation - Initially this can be done with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil or Aleve.
2. Offload - Take pressure away from the plantar fibroma so it is not re-aggravated. This is usually done with custom orthotics with an indent placed directly beneath the plantar fibroma. The custom orthotics re-distribute pressure away from the plantar fibroma.
3. Shrink the Size of the Plantar Fibroma - This can be done with a topical medication called Verapamil and/or through a series of corticosteroid injections.
4. Surgery - In rare instances where all other measures have failed, surgical excision can be performed.
If you develop a painful bump on the bottom of your foot, call The Foot Fixers for an assessment so we can help you get back on your feet!