Lumps and bumps on our bodies often give us pause. They usually indicate some sort of problem, and shouldn’t be ignored. If you have a noticeable lump or knot on the bottom of your foot, and it feels firm to the touch, it is likely what’s called a plantar fibroma.
What is Plantar Fibroma?
This fibrous nodule forms in the band of tissue that spans from your toes to your heel, known as the plantar fascia. The condition is not necessarily painful, but can be if pressure is placed on the lump from shoes pushing against your arch. It might also hurt if you walk or stand barefoot. Although any lump you find is of immediate concern, this particular type of mass is completely benign. It can spread, however, as well as grow in size. So it is important to have your podiatrist take a look.
How is It Diagnosed?
Whenever you discover a lump on your body that wasn’t there before, you should immediately make an appointment with your doctor. In the case of plantar fibroma, a podiatrist will perform a foot examination to make the diagnosis. Be prepared for the doctor to press on the lump, which can sometimes cause pain extending all the way to your toes—a sure sign of the condition. A biopsy or MRI may be necessary for further evaluation.
Can it Be Treated?
There are some non-surgical treatment options for plantar fibroma that can aide in relieving pain, but they are unable to make the mass go away completely. These treatments basically manage the condition so that you can continue your lifestyle with as little discomfort as possible. Non-surgical treatments include:
Physical Therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises in combination with topical anti-inflammatory medications can control plantar fibroma and keep it from getting worse.
Orthotic Shoe Inserts: Your podiatrist can prescribe custom orthotics to place in your shoes. These will reduce pain by distributing your weight away from the fibroma. However, these will only work if the lump, or fibroma, is not changing in size.
Steroid Injections: Corticosteroid medication can be injected to help shrink the mass, thereby relieving pain caused from pressure against it. The reduction in size may only be temporary, though, and the mass can slowly grow large again.
When Conservative Remedies Aren’t Working
Increase in size coupled with escalating pain in a fibroma could lead to consideration of surgical removal. If you continue to experience pain and discomfort despite following all of the non-surgical approaches, surgery is your final option. However, the procedure of removing plantar fibroma is not without risk. It could result in the development of hammertoes or fallen arches, although orthotics may help provide support. Unfortunately with this condition there is a high incidence of recurrence, so follow-up care must be on-going.
If you are wondering about a lump on the bottom of your foot, don’t waste time worrying. Come visit the Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists in Austin, Texas. There, Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS can evaluate your problem and put your mind at ease. Call (512) 328-8900 to learn more about plantar fibromas and what you can do to live comfortably with this condition.