Plantar fibroma – Symptoms & causes


The plantar fibroma is a mass of fibrous tissue which develops in the arch of the foot. This tissue is covering the area from your heel to your toes and it stabilizes the foot arch. This growth often causes pain and discomfort even though it is benign. The nodule which is growing slowly over time, can develop on one or both feet. Usually, it is less than inch in size. It is noticed that the plantar fibroma is affecting males more than females and it tends to happen in people who are middle age or older. [1]

In less common cases, some people can develop several fibromas on their foot which is a condition known as plantar fibromatosis. You should know that the plantar fibroma is noncancerous or benign growth in the arch of the foot. This fibroma appears on the bottom of your foot, namely in the middle of the arch. When this fibroma is in the early stages, it causes little discomfort. Often, they appear as little more than small bumps.

There are some cases when you cannot notice the nodules unless it begins to grow in size. You can begin to experience pain or discomfort in the nodules which become larger or if the external pressure is applied to the affected area. This can include standing barefoot, walking for extended period and friction from wearing shoes. The plantar fibromas are benign and in rare cases they will regress on their own. If you experience discomfort or if you develop a bump on your foot, then you should see your doctor as soon as possible.


Plantar fibroma

The slow – growing lump (fibroma) in the arch of the foot is the primary symptom of the plantar fibroma. The plantar fibroma typically measures less than one inch in size. The lump may initially cause little or no pain or discomfort. But, it is noticed that the fibroma can get bigger or other fibromas can appear nearby over time. It is noticed that the larger lumps are often painful. The pain caused by this fibroma can get worse when:

  • Standing for long periods
  • Walking barefoot [2]
  • Wearing restrictive shoes [3]
  • Applying pressure to the lump

The surgeon will examine the foot and press on the affected area, so in this way he or she will diagnose this fibromas. It is possible to diagnose the plantar fibromas based on the appearance of the nodule, but your doctor may recommend additional testing. Imaging tests can confirm this fibroma and rule out other conditions, such as malignancies, granulomas and cysts. Some possible imaging tests can include bone scan, MRI scan, X – ray. [3]

There are some cases when doctor can perform a biopsy of the lesion for further investigation. This is involving removing a sample of the tissue and examining the sample under a microscope. The treatment of plantar fibroma depends on the severity of nodule, so the individual treatment can vary from one person to another. Your doctor will give you the best treatment for you which depends on your condition and your past medical history. You should not use any medicine or home remedy for plantar fibroma without talking with your doctor.


The exact cause for the plantar fibroma is not known, but some experts say that a genetic component can play a role in it. It is noticed that a higher rate of fibrotic conditions happen in people who live in North Europe [4]. There are some experts who believe that there is a connection between the trauma and plantar fibromas. The injury can cause tears in the fascia of the bottom of the feet which is promoting the growth of nodules. There are some medications and supplements which can also encourage the growth of excess collagen and fibrous tissue, but this has not been proven. These include:

  • Glucosamine
  • Vitamin C
  • Anti – seizure medications
  • Certain beta – blockers to treat high blood pressure

Also, you have increased chances of developing plantar fibroma, if you have:

  • Seizure disorders
  • Diabetes [5]
  • Chronic liver disease

The connection which is between the mentioned conditions and the plantar fibroma is not known. It is not clear what exact causes the plantar fibroma or why, so there is no known way to prevent its occurrence.


[1] Young JR, Sternbach S, Willinger M, et al. The etiology, evaluation, and management of plantar fibromatosis. Orthopedic Research and Reviews. 2019;11:1–7. doi:10.2147/ORR.S154289

[2] Ithaca College. Going barefoot: Strong ‘foot core’ could prevent plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and other common injuries. Science Daily. 2015. Retrieved from

[3] Buldt AK, Menz HB. Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: a systematic search and narrative review of the literature. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 2018;11.

[4] Hutchinson J, Fogarty A, Hubbard R, McKeever T. Global incidence and mortality of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a systematic review. European Respiratory Journal. 2015;46: 795-806. doi:10.1183/09031936.00185114

[5] Nair S, Benbow S, Wile D, Gill G. Plantar fibromatosis in diabetes. Practical Diabetes. 2012;29(1):18.


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