Plantar fibromatosis (PF) is a rare condition where hard lumps form in the arch of the foot. The lumps can grow and lead to pain and problems walking. Treatment can help manage symptoms.
PF is caused by overgrowth of thick, fibrous tissue at the arch of the foot. It is not clear why this happens. Genes and other health conditions may play a role.
PF is more common in men and middle-aged people. However, it can also happen in women and younger people. Things that may raise the risk of PF are:
The main symptom of PF is one or more slow growing lumps in the arch of the foot. There may be no pain at first. Pain may develop as the lump gets bigger. It may be difficult to wear shoes or walk. More lumps may develop over time.
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A foot exam will be done.
Tests may include:
- Imaging, such as an ultrasound or MRI—to see what the lumps are
- A biopsy of the lump—a sample of tissue is taken and tested to rule out other causes
Diagnosis will be based on the symptoms and test results.
PF does not need to be treated unless it causes pressure or pain. In that case, the goal is to ease symptoms and shrink the lumps. Options may be:
- Steroid injections—to lower inflammation and pain
- Shoe adjustments or inserts—to ease pain
- Experimental medicines, such as:
- Verapamil cream—may decrease tissue thickening and inflammation
- Tamoxifen—may help slow the growth of cells and shrink the lumps
- Collagenase injections—may help break down the thick tissue
If these treatments do not help, other options are:
- Radiation therapy—to slow the growth of cells and lumps (may be used with or after surgery)
- Surgery to:
- Remove the lumps
- Remove the plantar fascia—a long band of tissue at the bottom of the foot
Follow up will be needed. Sometimes the lumps come back and need more treatment.
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation http://www.aapmr.org
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
Ontario Podiatric Medical Association http://www.opma.ca
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- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA
- Review Date: 09/2021
- Update Date: 09/22/2021