I have been doing a lot of research on Ledderhose disease, also known as Plantar Fibromatosis, an uncommon disease where painful lumps grow on your feet (especially in the arch, along the fascia) making it painful to walk, run or even stand.
The true cause of this condition is not known but some professionals think it could be hereditary.
Sufferers also usually have other related more common conditions such as Dupuytrens (lumps, thickening tissues or nodules on the tendons in their hands).
“Between 5 and 25% of Dupuytren’s patients will also have Ledderhose disease, and around 50% of Ledderhose patients will also have Dupuytren’s disease. Ledderhose affects 10 times more men than women.”Sources: https://dupuytrens-society.org.uk/information/ledderhose-disease/ and https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1061903-overview#a6
I have written before about plantar fibroma and the various options for management or treatment, but this has been based in more traditional medical realms rather than more natural or home treatments.
Unfortunately, it seems that Ledderhose is a condition that requires either surgery or even radiotherapy to help as a cure and most other treatments are for managing the pain of the condition, which is what we will concentrate on here.
Plantar Fibroma is a fairly serious condition if left untreated or properly diagnosed, so make sure you see your GP or Podiatrist as soon as possible if you think you have this.
Natural treatments for plantar fibroma
Magnesium spray or magnesium oil
Magnesium is crucial to the proper operation of your nervous system, blood, energy levels, metabolism and bone and cell generation. Having low levels can cause serious side effects, but we are looking at a spot treatment rather than a general boost of Mg.
We should all be getting magnesium as part of our diet, from mineral rich foods such as fish, whole grains or leafy green vegetables. However, it is known that magnesium is not absorbed very well when taken orally, so either an injection, spray or oil rubbed into the skin around sore muscles or aches will help.
Magnesium is mainly used to treat muscle cramps, (although some research shows it to be less effective than people think unless you are pregnant!) but many people have found that applying it either through a spray or as an oil massaged into the affected area, it can give pain relief and reduce soreness as it will get absorbed directly into the muscles and bloodstream.
Rubbing this into the area where you have plantar fibroma will help remove any muscle pain around the lumps, as this is where the pain is coming from – not the lumps themselves.
We recommend the Asutra Pure Zechstein Magnesium Oil Spray which has fewer additives and is purer than others on the market. The reviews where people have experienced pain relief from issues affecting all parts of their bodies are quite inspiring – although some people have reported that applying it can sting a little before you get used to it.
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Another natural treatment for plantar fibromas is to use essential oils rubbed onto the affected area once they have been mixed with a carrier oil.
I have written before on the benefits of using natural plant and flower oils to help treat plantar fasciitis and treating Ledderhose is no different. Using essential oils for spot pain relief will help reduce inflammation, any swelling and aid with reducing the soreness of around the lump.
I do not think that an essential oil will help to reduce the size of the fibromas lumps, but you will be able to get some relief from the pain that having the lump causes.
Which essential oils should I use?
To help treat muscle pain, mix some Eucalyptus oil with a carrier such as almond oil and massage directly into your foot. To help reduce any inflammation or swelling, use Lavender oil too. When this is applied locally to painful areas, it can work wonders to calm down soreness and pain.
Rosemary essential oil can also be used to treat localised pain on any area of the body. If you have any aches or pains in your feet, it can be used either as a massage oil or neat, added to a foot bath. The analgesia effect will help reduce any aches and pains in your feet that plantar fibromas might be causing.
Using essential oil is an effective, natural way to treat foot pain problems and I know lots of people who do not want to take medicines all the time, opting for a more holistic approach and use essential oils for treating many ailments.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This natural home treatment goes hand-in-hand with the Essential Oils we have just spoken about. Apple cider vinegar is high in acetic acid, which benefits you by helping to kill bacteria, lower cholesterol and even reduce blood pressure.
How to treat plantar fibroma with ACV.
To treat plantar fibromas using the benefits of apple cider vinegar, it is best to apply it directly to your foot, soaking a piece of kitchen towel or tissue and then strapping or taping it in place, leaving it for as long as you can.
Many people have left the pad on their foot overnight, letting the vinegar soak into the skin and get into the muscles and tissues surrounding the lump.
After the pad has been removed, your skin may feel softer and the top layer skin might start to peel off or shed, but this is quite normal. The apple cider vinegar has soaked into your skin and any slight loss is normal.
However, the soothing effect of the treatment will help reduce muscle pains around the fibromas and some people have even reported that continuous application of the vinegar pad overnight has reduced them in size.
Rubbing or massaging the soles of your feet where the Ledderhose is affecting you is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to help treat the pain naturally.
Massage has been used to help treat many ailments for centuries and despite there feeling like there may be no muscles on the soles of your foot, massaging any aching areas will help to reduce the pain.
Massage will stimulate blood flow and help to loosen any stiff tendons or muscles in the area, reducing tension and improving pain relief.
How to massage your plantar fibromas
You can simply sit with your leg crossed and your foot over your knee and rub the area around the lumps with your thumb, trying not to press them too hard, which may cause you more pain. If you are feeling more adventurous, use some massage oil and rub it into your entire foot (or get someone else to do it for you).
This video is an excellent visual guide to massaging your own feet:
The process should take around 5 minutes per foot and you should try to get the area as “warmed up” as possible, concentrating on the areas around and under where your lumps and nodules are, rather than the lumps themselves.
This is because it is the lumps pressing onto the muscles and tissues near to them that cause the pain. The fibromas themselves are not painful to touch.
One word of caution around massage and plantar fibroma – many people have reported (anecdotally) that after receiving a deep tissue massage from their podiatrist or physio, the lumps actually grew in size as if the treatment caused a growth spurt.
However, other people swear by receiving regular massage, so do your own research or speak to your podiatrist before doing anything yourself.
As with massage, acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of problems with your body, mind and feet and it is a common natural, non-medical option for people who do not want to be taking pills for the rest of their lives.
Acupuncture or dry needling works by inserting thin needles into the skin, pressure points and muscles to help stimulate a response, be that to trigger a muscle contraction or to help “wake up” nerves and pathways in the body. The areas of the body where the needles are applied can also be heated beforehand which can improve the effectiveness of the treatment.
Acupuncture is also seen as a more holistic treatment as the practitioner will often look to release “blockages” elsewhere in your body, rather than focus directly on your feet. When you are treated with this type of Eastern medicine, there is an understanding that everything is connected together, so applying a needle to your neck may also improve blood flow to your feet (as an example).
You cannot do acupuncture yourself, so make sure to see a properly registered practitioner, which you will be able to find on the Internet quite easily.
Research published by the PMC shows that simple and regular stretching exercises can often be as effective as taping, wrapping or wearing a night splint and should definitely be part of your treatment plan.
If you are suffering from Plantar Fibromatosis, keeping the fascia as supple as possible will help to reduce the chances of the lumps spreading or growing.
You don’t have to become a yoga master to get your stretches in though – just do some simple calf stretches on a step a few times a day or sit with your legs flat on the floor, toes pointed upwards and try to bend over as much as possible.
You should feel this down the backs of your legs and on the soles of your feet too.
I have written an article all about Plantar Fasciitis stretches, which will also be applicable for Fibromatosis and Ledderhose sufferers too.
Using orthotics or insoles
There seems to be conflicting opinions on whether you should use an orthotic or insole to help reduce plantar fibroma pain.
Most insoles provide additional arch support for you, which is great to relieve stress and strain on the plantar fascia across the sole of your foot, but if there are fibromas present in that area, you could be adding more pressure and therefore more pain.
The answer would be that it depends on the size and number of fibromas in your foot. If they are larger or more painful, it is likely that an orthotic will add to your pain.
However, for smaller lumps using an orthotic may alleviate any stress on your fascia, making recovery easier and reduce the possibility that it may get worse over time.
What you eat can have a huge effect on the health of your feet. Foods that are high in sugar or trans-fats can be just as bad for your waistline as they can for your instep, so ensuring that you keep to a diet that focusses on foods that reduce inflammation in the body can be of benefit.
We all know that your feet can be affected by diabetes, which can cause nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) leading to the sufferer losing feeling and can lead to having toes or the whole foot amputated if ulcers set in or the feet are not cared for properly.
If too much sugar can have this effect and cause this much damage, imagine what other non-natural chemicals, fats, additives and ingredients could be doing to your body.
I am not one to preach on diet, but I try to keep everything in moderation ensuring that I eat a wide range of food types. Staying healthy inside is as critical as keeping fit and healthy outside, so pay some attention to your diet and make sure you are eating less fatty and sugary foods.
This handy graphic from Piedmont Healthcare shows the right foods to eat on this diet:
Plantar fibromatosis is quite a rare and frustrating condition that even some podiatrists struggle to diagnose (due to it possibly being confused with other problems) and treat.
Also, it may not be something that can be cured and may just be a condition that you have to manage and live with, trying to stop it from getting worse.
These natural remedies for plantar fibromatosis will be preferable to going straight for radiotherapy or surgery and you should definitely give them some thought.
But as with any medical problem, speak to your doctor or podiatrist first and seek their advice. Despite it being an uncommon problem, they will ensure that your whole foot is healthy, not just concentrate on those painful lumps in your arch.