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Plantar fibromatosis is a condition in which collagen, or excess fibrous tissue, forms bumps on the bottom of the foot. The nodules may become painful, but many times, a person may not experience any symptoms. It is not known why a person develops this condition, but there are some theories. What is clear is that this condition is not usually cancerous and may not need treatment. When the nodules cause increased pain, however, surgery may be a treatment option.
It is thought that plantar fibromatosis is caused when the body overcompensates while healing small tears in the plantar fascia, the structure that keeps the arch in the foot. In such a case, excess collagen may build up and cause nodules. Other suspected causes include genetics. For instance, those of Northern European descent may be more likely to develop this condition. In addition, certain drugs, such as ones used to lower high blood pressure, may also contribute to the development of these nodules.
The development of the nodules associated with plantar fibromatosis does not always become a serious issue. For many, these nodules may not pose a problem. The nodules can remain the same size for a long time, or can grow quickly in a short period of time. They are not cancerous, however, and do not spread to other parts of the body. While usually not painful, there are times when the nodules can cause a person pain.
If there is pain associated with plantar fibromatosis, different treatment options may be available. Non-invasive procedures may be a better choice than a surgical one. One surgical option is removing the nodules; however, they often reappear. Another surgical option is to remove a part of the plantar fascia along with the nodules. This procedure may reduce the chance of recurrence of the nodules, but may also result in a painful scar and the development of other foot issues.
For plantar fibromatosis nodules that are not overly painful, other treatment methods can be used. Wearing an orthopedic pad in the shoe can help keep pressure off the nodule and reduce pain. In addition, stretching the plantar fascia ligament with a night splint may help to reduce the size of nodules. Injections with cortisone may also be used to help shrink the nodules and reduce pain. There is also a topical gel available that can help to reduce nodule size.