The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

More Plantar Trouble: Plantar Fibromatosis

Posted by on Friday, July 27th, 2012

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Usually when you hear someone say “plantar” you can bet the next word will be “fasciitis.” That’s because plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot problems afflicting the general public. The plantar fascia, that thick band of tissue that runs from your forefoot to your heel, can get into other kinds of trouble, though. Today we’re going to talk about another fun one from the world of the plantar fascia: plantar fibromatosis.

Oh no, another long word! I don’t like long-worded foot ailments. Short-worded ones aren’t much fun either.

True. Okay, what’s plantar fibromatosis? For such a big word, it’s actually not that complicated. Plantar fibromatosis simply describes nodules, or hard bumps of tissue that form on the plantar fascia and are felt on the arches of a person’s foot. They can be small or large; they may grow quickly, then stop growing for a while, then start up again.  They are benign but can be painful (and may make the sole of your foot look like a rare variety of fish).

How do I know I have plantar fibromatosis? Well, bumps on the arch of your foot are the biggest clue. Actually, that’s really it: bumps on the arch of your foot.

Why would I have bumps on the arch of my foot, or your fancy plantar fibromatosis? There are a number of possible causes, for example, heredity. If other people in your family have bumps on their feet or hands, you’re more likely to have them as well. Nodules also tend to form on areas where there has been an injury, either from repetitive impact injuries on the foot or traumatic ones. Plantar fibromatosis also can be found in people with diabetes, liver disease, some thyroid diseases, and alcoholism.

What do I do about plantar fibromatosis? The main goal is to just relieve the pain felt when putting weight on the feet. Shoe choice is important–look for shoes with rocker bottoms, shoes with extra depth, a high toe box, with good heel support. Flip flops are bad, but sandals with straps that offer support are okay.

Orthotics to protect your arches can also help with pain. A podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) can custom-fit orthotics your feet for orthotics that will take pressure off the areas where your nodules are located. A steroid injection may help with pain and inflammation. Stretches for the arch and calf (plantar fascia issues are often related to tight calf muscles) can help;  check out a few simple stretches at Livestrong.

There are two main surgical procedures to help with severe cases of plantar fibromatosis. However, they are only recommended as a last resort, due to the likelihood of recurrence of the nodules with one procedure and the extremely painful, long recovery from the other.

There! Now you know all you ever wanted to know about plantar fibromatosis! Not nearly as complicated as it sounds, but just as ugly. Keep an eye out for those  bumps on your feet!

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.