What’s That Lump in Your Arch?


Finding a new lump anywhere in your body can be a scary, daunting situation, especially since they can pop up seemingly anywhere – including your heels. Your foot is a complex, unique, and important structure that works to support your full body weight and helps you stay balanced. One part of that complicated structure is your plantar fascia, a long fibrous tissue that runs along your arch, connecting your heel to your toes. This ligament plays a major role in shock absorption as you walk, jump, or engage in other physical activities. When a benign mass forms on the plantar fascia ligament, it is called a plantar fibroma.

What is a plantar fibroma?

Plantar fibromas are noncancerous growths that typically feel like firm lumps in the arch of your foot. The growths vary in size but are usually roughly half an inch. They might grow and expand over time and could even develop into additional fibromas. In the early stages, there is not often discomfort, but as the nodule grows, applying pressure to the area can cause great discomfort.

Their exact cause is unknown, but some doctors believe there is a genetic component. Although plantar fibromas can develop at any age on anyone, it typically occurs in middle age and afflicts more men than women.

How do I know the lump is plantar fibroma?

A visit to the foot doctor should clear up concerns. Your podiatrist will diagnose a plantar fibroma through a routine examination, biopsies, and imaging such as MRIs and X-rays.

What then? How do I treat it?

Thankfully, plantar fibromas are usually managed successfully with conservative treatments. Here are the common treatments:

  • Custom orthotics to reduce pressure on the nodule

  • Physical therapy

  • Topical medications

  • Corticosteroid injection

Surgery is typically the last resort for treatment but might be recommended if your plantar fibroma has progressed significantly or is very painful.

If you notice a lump in your arch, or if you have any other foot or ankle concerns, it’s time to give us a call! Here at Westfield Foot and Ankle LLC, our podiatrist, Dr. David R. Sullivan, can assess the lump and discuss the proper treatment methods with you. You can reach our conveniently located Westfield, IN office, serving both Boone and Hamilton County, at 317-896-6655.