Ledderhose disease is a rare type of fibromatosis that affects your foot. You may see small, hard growths in the bottom of your foot. These growths may be painful, and it may be difficult for you to walk. In rare cases, your toes may curl down. Ledderhose disease can be treated through nonsurgical or surgical methods.
Ledderhose disease (plantar fibromatosis) is a rare disease. It affects the plantar fascia, which is the thick layer of tissue (ligament) that protects and supports the bottom of your foot. If you have Ledderhose disease, small, hard nodules develop slowly on the bottom of your feet. These nodules are noncancerous (benign) thickening of this ligament. They look like bumps, knots or growths on the surface of your skin. The bumps may grow to be 1 to 2 centimeters in size.
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There are three stages to Ledderhose disease:
Ledderhose disease affects people of any age. However, it’s more common in men who are middle-aged or older.
Ledderhose disease often affects those who have:
Ledderhose disease affects less than 200,000 people in the United States every year. However, it becomes more common in middle-aged or older people, with up to 25% developing the disease.
In 25% of cases, Ledderhose disease affects both feet.
Ledderhose disease may cause discomfort. Your feet may become swollen, and the growths on your feet may be painful. These issues can affect your ability to walk.
In rare cases, your toes may curl down toward the bottom of your feet. It may be difficult or even impossible to straighten your toes. It tightens the ligament on the bottom of your foot (plantar fascia) and can predispose you to developing plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms of Ledderhose disease may include:
Healthcare providers don’t know what causes Ledderhose disease. However, it seems to occur in those who have other types of fibromatosis. Tell your healthcare provider if you have Dupuytren’s disease, Peyronie’s disease or knuckle pads.
Ledderhose disease can cause pain in the bottom of your feet, including your toes. The pain can affect the way you walk. As a result, you may change the way you naturally walk to offset your pain. This can put too much pressure on other parts of your feet and ankles, which may cause additional injuries.
Ledderhose disease is often associated with diabetes and epilepsy, but it doesn’t cause them.
Before examining your foot, your healthcare provider may ask several questions, including:
Your healthcare provider will examine your foot. They will:
Your healthcare provider may conduct the following tests to diagnose Ledderhose disease:
Your regular healthcare provider can diagnose and treat the earliest stages of Ledderhose disease. If your pain doesn’t go away after several months of nonsurgical treatment, your healthcare provider may refer you to a foot and ankle surgeon.
In the earliest stages of Ledderhose disease, conservative treatments can provide relief. These treatments include:
If your pain doesn’t decrease or stop after several months of conservative treatment, your healthcare provider may suggest the following:
In many cases, you should feel better after several weeks of proper treatment.
Because healthcare providers don’t know what causes Ledderhose disease, it may not be possible to prevent it. However, you may lower your risk of developing Ledderhose disease by:
With proper diagnosis and treatment, the outlook for people with Ledderhose disease is good. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for at-home treatments. Be sure to schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress.
Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if you:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Though Ledderhose disease is rare, it can be very painful and frustrating. You may notice changes in the way you walk. If you experience long-lasting pain in your feet, notice growths on the bottom of your feet or have difficulty straightening your toes, talk to your healthcare provider. You can treat Ledderhose disease in its earliest stages with shoe inserts, massages, stretching, ice and over-the-counter medications. In later stages, your healthcare provider may refer you to a foot and ankle specialist.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/16/2022.
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