Proximal Plantar Fibroma as an Etiology of Recalcitrant Plantar Heel Pain

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Prompted by repeated pathology reports of fibromas at the origin of the plantar fascia after fasciectomy for chronic plantar heel pain, this study examines the incidence of proximal plantar fibroma. A retrospective study of 101 pathology specimens from 97 patients with the preoperative diagnosis of recalcitrant plantar fasciitis was performed. Patients ranged in age from 36 to 82, and included 30 males and 67 females. The specimens consisted of medial and central bands of the fascia obtained from transverse plantar fasciectomies. The fasciectomies were performed between July 1994 and March 2008. One quarter of the cases studied had a histological appearance of plantar fibroma. This new finding has not been reported in any literature in connection with recalcitrant heel pain. Histologic findings of the specimens were placed into 3 groups: neoplastic involvement (25%, 21 female and 6 male), inflammation without neoplastic involvement (21%, 13 female and 6 male), and other, which consisted of having no inflammatory or neoplastic response (54%, 32 female and 19 male). All of the patients failed a 3- to 6-month conservative treatment regimen, which included anti-inflammatory medication, modification of activities, injection of corticosteroids, night splints, custom molded orthotics, and physical therapy. Only 4 patients underwent bilateral plantar fasciectomies. No patient required a revisional procedure. The authors conclude that 25% of recalcitrant heel pain is neoplastic in origin, and that patients presenting with these lesions require excision and not fasciotomy.

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