Plantar Fibroma
Knots in the foot, known as plantar fibromas, present as lumps that cause pain when you press against them.

A knot or nodule in the foot is due to the plantar fibroma. Fibroma is a knot of connective tissue, benign or nonmalignant (that will not spread to other parts of the body). This nodule occurs either in one or both feet and does not go without treatment.

Treatment for a plantar fibroma may include over-the-counter pain medicines, corticosteroid injections, and, rarely, surgery.

What are the different ways to get rid of knots in the foot?

Knots in the foot or the plantar fibromas are easy to treat.

The most common methods of treatment include:

  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. They help reduce the inflammation around the fibroma and relieve the pressure on the foot.
  • Verapamil manages blood pressure. The topical application of verapamil cream reduces inflammation and helps shrink the fibroma.
  • Corticosteroid injection at the site of the nodule may help shrink it and relieve pain. They may cause a temporary reduction in the size of the nodule.
  • Using customized shoes may help shrink the nodule.
  • Stretching the plantar fascia may help reduce symptoms.
  • Sometimes, the reduction of pain can be made through physical therapies.
  • Rarely, surgical procedures are done to remove the knot from the foot.

If the pain persists or the nodule grows, consult your doctor right away so that additional treatment approaches can be tried.

What is plantar fibroma?

The connective tissue knot in the center of the arch of the foot is the plantar fibroma. The plantar fibromas are the benign growth on the plantar fascia, a rubber band-like ligament that runs from the heel to toe. The fibrous knots are very small, and sometimes, you may not even notice the fibromas. These fibromas grow gradually, causing discomfort and pain that usually aggravates when you or the shoes you wear press against the lump.

The exact cause of the fibromas is unknown. However, scientists believe that the fibromas start forming due to trauma or small tears in the plantar fascia. Plantar fascia tears heal and form scar tissue that results in nodules or knots in the foot.

The nodules can occur at any age but are mostly seen in middle-aged people. Men are more likely to get these fibromas compared to women.

What are the signs and symptoms of knots in the foot?

The characteristic sign of plantar fibromas is a firm lump in the arch of the foot. This lump may remain the same in size or slowly start growing, with or without pain.

When this nodule is pressed against the shoes that you wear, it may cause severe pain and discomfort.

Depending on the size of the fibromas, you may feel like you are walking around with a stone in your shoes.

Because of the lump under the skin of the foot, it may appear curved or bulged.

SLIDESHOW

Common Causes of Foot Pain See Slideshow

What are the risk factors for knots in the foot?

Knots in the foot may occur to anybody, but the following are a few conditions where there is a higher risk:

  • Middle-aged people, especially those aged 40 to 60 years, are at a higher risk of developing plantar fibromas
  • Men are more likely to get fibromas than women
  • Any trauma to the plantar fascia
  • A few studies report that people with a family history of plantar fibromas are at a higher risk of getting them
  • People with some health conditions, such as diabetes, epilepsy, and alcohol-use disorder are at high risk of developing plantar fibromas

How are plantar fibromas diagnosed?

The diagnosis of plantar fibromas is quite easy. The doctor may perform a physical examination and, if required, may recommend the following diagnostic tests:

X-rays or bone scans are used to detect any bone changes in the foot around the nodule region and cancerous sarcomas. MRI is done to confirm whether the growth is a fibroma or a benign cyst.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is done for soft tissues. Using this ultrasound, your healthcare provider may take images of the soft tissue around the fibroma.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2022
References
Image Source: IStock image

Plantar Fibroma. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22104-plantar-fibroma#management-and-treatment

What Is a Plantar Fibroma? https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/what-is-plantar-fibroma

Plantar Fibroma. https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/plantar-fibroma