Have you noticed a lump in your arch that may be causing you pain? Has this lump grown in size or have you found other lumps in the same general area?
You most likely have a plantar fibroma, a slow-growing lump, which is found in the plantar fascia, which runs from your heel to your toes. Fibromas can be located in both of your feet and typically will not go away or reduce in size without treatment. Most importantly, plantar fibromas are non-cancerous. Podiatrists have not been able to determine definite causes for plantar fibromas, although it has been speculated that those with diabetes, epilepsy, alcoholism,repeated injury at the site, and liver cirrhosis may be more prone to get plantar fibromas. Plantar fibromas are hereditary. Plantar fibromas are found in people of all ages, but can typically be diagnosed in patients 70 years or older.
Those with plantar fibromas may not have pain, but those who may find that pain is caused by shoes rubbing against the lump. Those with more painful plantar fibromas will find that wearing shoes is more difficult and painful.
To determine if what you have is indeed a plantar fibroma, a podiatrist will need to perform an examination of the affected area. During this examination you may experience pain that extends into your toes. A podiatrist may also need an MRI or biopsy to further confirm the diagnosis.
The only way to truly get rid of a plantar fibroma is through surgery, but this may cause the arch of the foot to collapse and promote the development of hammertoes. Most fibromas are treated with nonsurgical treatment. These treatment options include:
Orthotic Devices: Orthotics will help alleviate the pain caused by your fibroma by shifting the weight away from the mass. Orthotics can only be prescribed if the size of the fibroma has not changed.
Steroid Injections: An injection at the site will help decrease the size of the lump. An injection will also help reduce the pain associated with the mass. However, the relief and reduction of the fibroma can be temporary and it can return to its original size and pain.
Physical Therapy: The pain can be treated through physical therapy methods that transmit anti-inflammatory medication directly to the site.
Follow-up is key to treating a fibroma, so make sure to keep your appointments with your podiatrist.
Dr. Tina Boucher, owner of Central CT Foot Care in Meriden, CT, treats patients of all ages. Visit her website: http://www.centralctfootcare.com for more information.