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Massage Therapy for Plantar Fibromatosis

author image James Mulcahy
James Mulcahy is a New York City-based licensed massage therapist with more than 1,500 hours of training in anatomy, myology and pathology. He currently works as a freelance writer and has contributed to Huffington Post, New York Press, British Airway’s High Life, Metromix and many other publications.
Massage Therapy for Plantar Fibromatosis
A woman's foot getting a massage. Photo Credit: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Plantar fibromatosis, also known as Ledderhose's disease after the doctor that first described it, occurs when non-cancerous tumors form in the plantar fascia at the base of the foot. These small bumps are made up of excess collagen or fibrotic tissue and can be painful if pressed. While extreme cases can require surgical intervention, massage therapy can help alleviate some of the symptoms in less-serious cases.

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What to Avoid

When giving a massage to someone with plantar fibromatois, you’ll want to avoid putting direct pressure on the small tumors because that can prove painful. Instead of working these deposits directly, a massage therapist should work the surrounding tissue to decrease any referred pain or tension brought about by the tumors. A successful massage for this condition will also work the ankle and toe joints with range of motion and stretching exercises.

Bilateral Work

The nodules associated with this condition can cause a lot of pain when walking, and it is likely that the massage recipient will have adjusted their gait to avoid putting pressure on the sensitive areas. Such gait adjustments always create muscle strain, and not just in the leg that has the problem. Massage for a recipient with this condition should focus on both of the lower extremities to help alleviate this strain.

Eastern Massage Techniques

Instead of using traditional Swedish techniques to address this problem, a sufferer should consider Eastern massage styles such as shiatsu and reflexology. These techniques focus on energetic pathways throughout the body, and both methodologies contain a number of important points to work on and around the foot. While avoiding putting too much pressure on any of the nodules, the therapist will dig into these points to restore the proper flow of energy to the region and reduce pain.

Talk to Your Doctor

Before visiting a massage therapist to help treat your plantar fibromatosis, discuss the condition with your doctor. Also, when you arrive at the massage therapist’s office, notify them of the condition so they can come up with an appropriate treatment plan.

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