Plantar fasciitis tends to be the star of the show when it comes to the main causes of heel pain, but a patient might come in with foot pain and it’s not the familiar scourge we all know and love. It’s something … lumpier.
Plantar fibromatosis (which you might sometimes hear referred to as Ledderhose disease) is a condition in which one or more small masses grow in the fascia along the bottom of the foot. They usually occur in the arch, between the heel pad and the forefoot, but can also appear right behind the big toe joint.
What Does Plantar Fibromatosis Feel Like?
These lumps are not cancerous and tend to grow slowly. If you can feel the lumps, they often feel like peas.
Initially, the lumps may not cause you any problems. You might not even know you have them until they grow and consolidate to the point when they do start to cause trouble. The larger they become and the further they spread, the more likely they are to cause pain when you put pressure on them. (The bottom of the foot is a bad place to be if you want to avoid pressure.)
If you feel lumps on one foot, chances are good that you will feel them on the other. If you don’t feel them on both feet now, you may in the future.
It’s of course natural for someone to feel pain in their feet or arches and think it’s plantar fasciitis, but the bumps tell the truth of the matter.
What Causes Plantar Fibromatosis?
Although trauma may be responsible for some cases developing, plantar fibromatosis appears to be a mostly hereditary condition. Grandparents, tell your kids and grandkids if you’ve had this, as it might be in the cards for them, too!
Nodules are most likely to appear between the ages of 20-60. Groups at higher risk tend to be:
- Men (around 10 times more likely than women)
- Have an Anglo-Saxon background
How to Treat Those Lumps on Your Foot
Plantar fibromatosis can commonly be addressed without a need for surgery, especially when the lumps are relatively small.
Steroid injections can often shrink the nodules and soften them up. We will also recommend cross-fiber massage to further work them, keeping them small and relieving discomfort.
What do we mean by “cross-fiber massage”? You won’t have to go to a massage therapist (unless you want to). You can achieve great results with simple maneuvers like rolling a tennis ball beneath your foot. We can discuss additional techniques and exercises with you as well.
Surgery is rarely needed, but may be necessary when nodules are too large or in too painful of an area. A surgical procedure will often require taking out the entire plantar fascia.
Take [Care of] Your Lumps
Whether you are experiencing pain or discomfort from plantar fibromatosis or another condition, you don’t want to just sit and keep hoping things get better on their own. The sooner we know what’s going on and what to do about it, the more likely we can find a helpful resolution and you can avoid worse problems later on.
Schedule an appointment with our Indianapolis office by calling (317) 545-0505. Or, if you prefer to contact us electronically, fill out our online contact form and a member of our office will reach out to you.