Ledderhose's disease (plantar fibromatosis, Morbus Ledderhose)
Ledderhose disease, also called Ledderhose's Disease (LD), plantar fibromas, or Morbus Ledderhose is a fibromatosis, like Dupuytren's contracture. When suffering from Ledderhose disease benign nodules grow at the arch of the foot. Occasionally also cords can develop but not as frequently as with Dupuytren's contracture. Initially these nodules are usually painless but as they grow they can cause considerable pain when walking. The nodules can also inflame causing additional pain. Ledderhose disease is named after the German surgeon Georg Ledderhose who first described it in 1897. For reasons unknown Ledderhose disease (Morbus Ledderhose) is less frequent than Dupuytren's disease but appears often in combination with Dupuytren’s contracture.
Differences between Ledderhose's and Dupuytren's disease
The first and most important step is the correct diagnosis, which only a medical doctor can provide. Not every nodule in the arch of the foot is Ledderhose's disease (Morbus Ledderhose), see Galois L., Mainard D., and Delagoutte J.P. "Villonodular tumor mimicking a Ledderhose's disease" Foot and Ankle Surgery 9 (2003) p 57 - 59. Different diseases require different therapies therefore see you doctor as soon as possible and stay away from self-diagnosing.
Ledderhose disease (Morbus Ledderhose) probably has the same or similar root cause as Dupuytren’s contracture and in principal the same therapies apply. But feet have to carry a lot of weight and while a patient might be able to avoid the use of an operated hand, this is usually much more inconvenient with an operated foot. Also Ledderhose nodules seem to grow to bigger sizes than Dupuytren nodules. Here is an example:
(Picture provided by David Adams. This picture was actually taken prior to a cryosurgery)
While contraction is usually observed at the hand (Dupuytren's contraction), it is not typical for Ledderhose disease though it might happen. Development of cords seems to be less dominant for Ledderhose. Possibly weight and continuous exercise keep feet and toes straight or the Ledderhose nodules reside in a more static area and are thus subject to less pulling forces than the nodule's in the hand. Thus therapies to straighten toes again are less important for Morbus Ledderhose, the focus is more on reducing the size of the nodules, reducing pain and inflammation, and maintaining the ability to walk. Therefore therapies for Ledderhose and Dupuytren's are probably as similar as foot and hand: similar, but not the same.
Page last modified: 05/19/2012