Tag Archives: Fat Pad Atrophy

How to manage heel pad atrophy

Pain in the heel frequently occurs and there are a number of causes of that. Plantar fasciitis is by far the most frequent condition and is typically simple to diagnose. However, there are plenty of other reasons that aren't as frequent and are harder to diagnose. Among the less common conditions is a ailment known as heel fat pad atrophy. There is a covering of fat underneath the heel that acts as a cushion and shock absorber when we are walking or running. Usually there's enough fat there to provide that shock absorption, but in some individuals it atrophies or wastes away and it may no longer guard the heel with that shock reduction. Exactly why it happens is not entirely clear, there is however some atrophy of that fat pad with getting older and some just appear to atrophy more than others at a faster rate. The key signs of this problem are increasing pain with standing and walking under the heel. Additionally it is important to eliminate other causes because they may exist simultaneously.

The primary way to treat heel pad atrophy is to replace the fat that has wasted away. The simplest way is to wear pads in the shoe under the heel, usually made of a silicone gel which has the identical consistency as the natural fat, because they theoretically replace the pad that is atrophied. This typically works with just about all cases of this and that is all that has to be done. A possible problem with this method is that you need to use the pads and you can’t do that when barefoot or in sandals without difficulty. The only other choice is a surgical procedure called augmentation where some fat is surgically inserted beneath the heel. The inserted fat can come from another part of the body or could be artificially created in the laboratory. The longer term results of this type of approach aren't yet known, however early results from the procedure appear good.