“There’s a knot in my foot” or “it feels like I’m walking on a golf ball”. It’s a common complaint for podiatrists to hear, the description of a hard lump in the arch of the foot. The most common cause of this problem is a fibrous knot in the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that runs beneath the foot, called a plantar fibroma.
The diagnosis of plantar fibromas is sometimes a surprise to the patient, it is possible to have a fibroma for a long time and experience no pain or other symptoms besides the hard knot under the foot. The cause of plantar fibromas is still unclear, but likely contains a genetic component. Fortunately fibromas are non-malignant masses, so they do not pose much of a problem, besides the potential discomfort they cause. Fibromas frequently occur on both feet, but it can occur in just one foot. The fibroma will not shrink or go away on its own without proper treatment from a podiatrist.
There’s a few different treatment options for plantar fibromas. Corticosteroid injections are used in an effort to shrink the mass, in an effort to relieve the pressure cause by the fibroma. This is not a permanent solution, as it is common for the fibroma to grow again. If your podiatrist has not observed the fibroma to grow over time then they may prescribe custom orthotics in order to alleviate the pressure create by the plantar fibroma.
If the plantar fibroma continues to grow and cause the patient pain then your podiatrist may recommend surgery to remove the mass, although this is not without risk of complications. The removal of the fibroma can cause a flattening of the arch or even lead to hammertoes. It is even common for the fibroma to return, even after surgical intervention, which is why surgery to remove a plantar fibroma is not popular.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a lump you may suspect is a plantar fibroma then make an appointment with your local podiatrist. The podiatrists and staff of Ankle & Foot Associates are ready to help get patients back to their lives with happy, healthy feet.