Plantar fibromatosis, also known as Ledderhose disease, is a rare condition that causes lumps on the bottoms of the feet along the fascia that connects the heel to the toes. The condition can be caused by repetitive trauma such as running, injuries to the foot, genetics, medications, diabetes, or long-term alcohol use. The lumps that form are called plantar fibromas and can be treated by a podiatrist.
Common Signs of Plantar Fibromatosis
The most noticeable sign of plantar fibromatosis is a lump on the bottom of the foot, typically in the area of the arch. The condition can affect one or both feet. Plantar fibromatosis may appear as a single lump or as multiple lumps.
Characteristics of Plantar Fibromatosis Lumps
- Feel firm to the touch
- Remain the same size or grow larger over time
- Cause pain when walking or standing
- Are painful when wearing certain types of shoes
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
A podiatrist can diagnose plantar fibromatosis by doing a physical exam of your feet and reviewing your medical history. To rule out other possible causes for the lumps, imaging tests such as an MRI may be ordered. A biopsy is typically not needed but may be performed to determine if the lump is benign. Lumps caused by plantar fibromatosis are most often non-cancerous.
Types of Treatment for Plantar Fibromatosis
- Custom orthotics. A podiatrist can recommend specific types of inserts to wear inside your shoes. Custom orthotics can help reduce pain by taking pressure off the lump and providing extra cushioning when you walk.
- Footwear. Changing the type of shoes you wear can often help reduce symptoms. Switching shoes to a more supportive style with cushioning can help take pressure off the arch of the foot where the lumps may be present.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy exercises can be done to strengthen and stretch the tissues in the foot to help relieve pain. Ice can also be applied to the foot to reduce swelling.
- Massage. Regular foot massage can help relieve pain by stretching the tissues around the lumps. Pressing or touching the lumps themselves can cause pain, so only focus on the surrounding tissue during the massage.
- Medication. Topical anti-inflammatory medications can be applied directly to the plantar fibromas to help control pain, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken to decrease pain and swelling.
- Steroid injection. A podiatrist can inject corticosteroid medication into the bottoms of your feet to help reduce inflammation and provide relief from pain.
If conservative treatments are not effective—you continue to experience pain or the lumps continue to grow in size—surgery may be needed to remove the plantar fibroma. Surgical procedures that can be performed for plantar fibromatosis include cryosurgery, where the tissue causing the fibromas are frozen and killed off, or a fasciectomy, where thickened tissue is removed from the bottom of the foot.
Plantar fibromatosis surgery does not come without risks. Even if the plantar fibroma is removed, there is a high risk of plantar fibromatosis recurring. In addition to having the plantar fibroma return, other risks include developing fallen arches or hammertoes.
Are You Looking for Expert Foot Care in Austin, TX?
If you are looking for expert foot care, you should reach out to an experienced podiatrist. Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can help. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us online or call our Austin office at 512.328.8900.