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Plantar Fibromatosis

Last updated Dec. 10, 2019

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Plantar Fibromatosis is a very rare condition that affects one’s feet. It causes nodules in the plantar aspect (sole) of the foot.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Ledderhose Disease
  • Morbus Ledderhose
  • Policeman's Heel

What is Plantar Fibromatosis? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Plantar Fibromatosis is a very rare condition that affects one’s feet. It causes nodules in the plantar aspect (sole) of the foot
  • Unlike Dupuytren’s contracture (also known as palmar fibromatosis), which causes contraction of the hand palms, Plantar Fibromatosis does not cause a contraction (shrinking)
  • The signs and symptoms of the condition that may affect both the feet include pain and difficulty while walking
  • Surgical removal of the nodules is the preferred treatment method. However, it is difficult to remove them completely during surgery, and hence, recurrence of the condition is common

Who gets Plantar Fibromatosis? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Plantar Fibromatosis is generally seen in younger individuals; the incidence of occurrence increasing with age
  • It is more common in males than females

What are the Risk Factors for Plantar Fibromatosis? (Predisposing Factors)

Some of the risk factors associated with Plantar Fibromatosis include:

  • The condition can be seen in families, in rare cases; hence, a positive family history may be a risk factor

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Plantar Fibromatosis? (Etiology)

The cause of Plantar Fibromatosis formation is unknown.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Plantar Fibromatosis?

The signs and symptoms of Plantar Fibromatosis include:

  • It is a benign condition, the nodules occur on the tendons of the foot
  • Pain upon walking, difficulty walking
  • This condition usually affects only one foot; but, in 25% of the patients, it affects both the feet (bilateral condition)

How is Plantar Fibromatosis Diagnosed?

The healthcare provider may perform a thorough physical examination with medical history and other tests, to help diagnose Plantar Fibromatosis. Such a diagnosis would involve:

  • Imaging of the affected region, like MRI scan of the foot
  • A tissue biopsy, where the tissue is examined by a pathologist under the microscope, to arrive at a definitive diagnosis

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Plantar Fibromatosis?

The possible complications from Plantar Fibromatosis may include:

  • Pain, which can be severe and decrease the quality of life
  • Recurrence of the condition after surgery

How is Plantar Fibromatosis Treated?

Treatment measures for Plantar Fibromatosis may include:

  • Initially, conservative methods are used to treat the condition, like pain-relief medication, steroidal injections, etc.
  • Surgery is usually performed only if the symptoms (such as pain) are severe
  • A recent advance is the use of cryosurgery to treat the nodules

How can Plantar Fibromatosis be Prevented?

There are no clearly established preventive measures for Plantar Fibromatosis. However, early detection and treatment of the condition may help individuals achieve a successful outcome.

What is the Prognosis of Plantar Fibromatosis? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • The prognosis of Plantar Fibromatosis depends on the severity of the condition
  • With proper treatment, the prognosis is generally good. However, recurrence of the condition after surgery is a possibility

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Plantar Fibromatosis:

  • Dupuytren’s contracture (palmar fibromatosis) is a very common condition, unlike Plantar Fibromatosis that is a very rare condition

The following article link will help you understand Dupuytren’s contracture.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 12, 2014
Last updated: Dec. 10, 2019