Odds are that you've unintentionally crammed your big toe into the leg of a chair once or twice. Maybe you’ve dropped a can of corn on your foot resulting in a goose-egg that would give Mount Kilimanjaro a run for its money. But how did you develop that lump on the bottom of your foot? If you've had a slow growing bump that measures more than an inch in size, you may have a plantar fibroma.
Between the Heel and Forefoot
This benign, yet painful mass can be found in the middle of your arch, between the heel pad and the forefoot pad. It lodges within your plantar fascia, the band of tissue that stretches from your heel to your toes. This nodule may increase in size and quantity if left untreated. The most invasive and rapid-growing fibromas are called plantar fibromatosis. A more aggressive form, it can affect the skin, muscle layers, nerves, and even arteries surrounding the mass.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Primarily affecting middle-aged to elderly people, as these lumps grow in size, they will grow in pain. Don't wait to have your feet checked out as this condition will not resolve on its own. In addition to pain, symptoms may also include tenderness. There are a few other conditions that can cause soft-tissue masses in the foot: cysts, swollen tendons, nerve tumors, and fat tumors. To rule out any other possible conditions, your doctor may perform an MRI or X-ray of the affected area.
Upon diagnosis, you should be aware of the non-surgical, as well as surgical, treatment options. Offloading is a conservative treatment that entails reducing pressure on the mass. Your foot can be fitted for a custom orthotic, or pain may be relieved through physical therapy. Reducing pressure may cause the area to shrink, but it will not entirely disappear. If non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful, you may need to consider a surgical procedure.
When plantar fibroma surgery is performed, there is a very low recurrence rate, but there are a few risks as well. Injury to the surrounding tissues, nerves, and structures can occur. You may also experience drainage, infection, or the development of flattened arches or hammertoes.
What to Expect After Surgery
In order to expedite the healing process, plan to keep off your foot for 1 to 2 weeks. During this time, the foot should be elevated to control the amount of swelling and decrease the risk of blood clots forming. Activity should be restricted for 1 to 2 months and custom footwear is to be worn at all times. It's important that you continue to meet with your doctor for routine checkups.
If you’re struggling with persistent pain on the bottom of your foot, or you feel like you’re standing on a stone, you may have a plantar fibroma. Address this discomfort right away. The Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialist of Arizona are here for you! We offer two locations to choose from: Chandler (480) 963-9000, (480) 963-0375 (fax) and Gilbert (480) 981-1800, (480) 981-0229 (fax). You can also request your appointment online.