Standing on Lumps
Imagine a bump in your shoe that presses right into the bottom of the arch of your foot with every step. When you aren’t putting pressure there, you have no problems—but every time you put weight down, you feel the lump pushing awkwardly and uncomfortably into your sole. For someone struggling with a plantar fibroma, that sensation is their reality, but they aren’t able to get relief simply by taking off their shoes.
A plantar fibroma is a thickened, fibrous nodule that develops in the plantar fascia, the long tendon that runs along the sole of your foot and connects your heel to the forefoot. The little tumor is considered benign, but it can slowly grow larger over time. Typically it feels hard to the touch. Sometimes the condition isn’t painful, but generally pressing against it can be uncomfortable, so the lump can make wearing shoes—or in some cases just walking around—difficult. Without intentional treatment, the problem does not get better.
No one is sure what causes a plantar fibroma to develop, though several things appear to be connected to it. Trauma to the foot seems to play a role. People with preexisting conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, liver disease, and thyroid problems are more likely to develop these benign masses. Certain medications seem to increase the likelihood a problem will arise. Alcoholism, age, gender, and family history also appear to be connected.
Treating the Pain
Since plantar fibromas do not get better on their own, intentional treatment is necessary to relieve your discomfort. Dr. Robert Parker will evaluate your condition by thoroughly examining your feet and may press on the mass. He may also request diagnostic images to get a better picture of the lump’s size and situation in the plantar fascia, as well as check for any additional growths.
How your pain is treated depends on the size of the growth and your personal needs. Removing pressure from the mass is important for eliminating discomfort. Various prescription orthotics, braces, and night splints can help. Without the pressure aggravating the affected tissues, the mass can sometimes shrink. Medications that function as calcium channel blockers also can reduce the tumor’s size. Cortisone injections directly to the affected area can sometimes help with significant pain, but the mass may regrow to its original size or even get larger over time. Surgery is the only way to eliminate the lump itself. However, the lump may still return in the future.
Plantar fibromas may not be life-threatening tumors, but they can be deeply uncomfortable and limit your mobility. The pain from a bump pressing into the bottom of your foot with every step can make walking and wearing shoes difficult. Unless the problem is addressed, the condition only gets worse. If you have an uncomfortable, solid bump on the bottom of your foot, don’t ignore it and continue to put up with the pain. Instead contact Parker Foot & Ankle for an appointment or more information. You can reach our Houston office by calling (281) 497-2850 or visiting the online contact page.