It is very common for adult patients to simply ignore foot pain thinking that it will ultimately resolve itself; it will just go away, eventually. However, it is much more difficult to ignore a lump or bump that has developed on a foot, especially if that lump is painful. A painful bump in the arch of your foot is most likely a fibroma, a benign tumor of dense fibrous connective tissue. When found in the arch, this bump is known as plantar facial fibromatosis or, more simply, plantar fibroma.
What is the cause of bumps in the arch?
Lumps and bumps in the arch of your feet are thought to be caused by trauma to the plantar fascia, the think band of connective tissue that runs the length of the foot beneath the arch. This trauma, usually due to excessive flattening of the foot, may cause the lump to form in the arch. A fibroma will often be firm to the touch, though occasionally they may feel a bit “squishy.” When the lump also adheres to surrounding tissue it will feel as if it is attached to the skin rather than the underlying ligament.
While these lumps and bumps are usually not painful in themselves, their development may place pressure on the arch which can cause pain. Chronic pain, or increasing pain, in the area of the fibroma will usually signal growth of the tumor or inflammation of the nerve that lies beneath the lump in the arch.
What is the best treatment for plantar fibroma?
The best conservative treatment for plantar fibroma is the use of anti-inflammatory medications in combination with foot orthotics or arch supports. The goal is to reduce tension on the plantar fascia while at the same time decreasing pressure on the fibroma. This can only be accomplished with improved arch support and increased stability of the foot.
Plantar fibroma treatment goals are simple and direct:
- Improve support of the affected arch
- Decrease tension on the plantar fascia
- Reduce pressure on the lump in the arch
In all cases, surgery for plantar fibroma is the very last option and should only be recommended after all conservative treatment options have proven to be ineffective.
Non-invasive treatment protocols for plantar fibroma
To avoid surgery while effectively treating plantar fibroma, these conservative treatment protocols should be implemented, singularly or in any combination:
- Anti-inflammatories for acute pain to reduce inflammation.
- Steroid injections into the fibroma to reduce inflammation and “break-up” the lesion.
- Topical prescription medications which may help to “break-up” the collagen from which the fibroma is comprised.
- Supportive footwear which will provide increased stability and arch support.
- Over-the-counter arch supports for improved support.
- Custom foot orthotics tailored to fit the patient’s foot and provide relief of pressure on the fibroma.
Due to the lengthy recovery required and the intrusive nature of recovery therapies due to virtually any type of foot surgery, our doctors will recommend surgery only as a last resort.
If you have developed lumps and bumps in the arch of your foot, even if you are not yet experiencing pain, make an appointment with your Seattle podiatrist today at the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington for effective conservative treatment of plantar fibroma.