Plantar fibromatosis is a condition in which excess collagen or fibrotic tissue in the feet creates hard nodules just under the skin. These nodules typically occur on the bottom of the foot and right under the arch. The condition can cause pain, especially when standing and walking. Individuals who participate in high intensity repetitive activities such as running and jumping and those with plantar fasciitis are at the highest risk. Trauma or injury to the foot can also cause plantar fibromatosis. Medications, injections and exercises for plantar fibromatosis may help to control symptoms. In severe cases surgery may be required.
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Standing Calf Stretch
Exercises for plantar fibromatosis should first be done under the supervision of a physical therapist to ensure that they are being done correctly. Stretching to loosen the muscles and soft tissue in the calf and arch of the foot can help.
The University of Illinois McKinley Health Center suggests standing and facing a wall with one leg forward in a lunge position. Keeping both heels on the floor; lunge forward until a stretch is felt in the back calf and foot. Hold for a slow thirty second count then switch legs. This stretch can be done up to three times on each leg; however, let pain be a guide. If pain occurs 24 to 48 hours after stretching, back off to just one stretch on each side.
Seated Arch Stretch
Performing a seated arch stretch can also help to stretch the bottom of the foot and can be helpful when weight bearing is too painful. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends doing this stretch first thing in the morning or after sitting for some time to loosen the foot before standing or walking.
Sit up straight and rest the right ankle on the left knee. With one hand stabilize the heel of the right foot and with the other hand gently pull the right toes back as far as possible without pain. Hold for a 20 to 30 second count, repeat several times and then switch legs.
In some cases, patients may need to wear a splint or brace while exercising to help manage symptoms. However, once deeper stretching is tolerable, patients can try a stair stretch for the foot and calf, states the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Stand on a stair on just the balls of the feet and hold onto a railing for support. Slightly bend both knees and then slowly lower the right heel down below step level. Let the right knee bend but avoid sticking the hips back; stay up straight. Lower down until a stretch is felt in the right calf and arch. Hold for a slow thirty second count then switch legs. This stretch can be done up to three times on each leg; however, as with the standing calf stretch, do fewer if pain or symptoms get worse.