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Fat Pad Syndrome

Heel Pain isn’t Always Plantar Fasciitis

Podiatrists often hear complaints for heal pain. Plantar fasciitis is more often than not the diagnosed.

However there are those occasions where the heel pain may not be due to plantar fasciitis, but rather a contusion or injury sustained to the cushioning fat pad of the heel itself.

The calcaneus is the name of the heel bone in the foot. It is the bone that is responsible for initial contact with the ground, and as a result is prone to injury from any activities involving movement, especially walking, running, and jumping.

Beneath the calcaneus bone is a fat pad that serves to provide cushioning and shock absorption between the calcaneus and the ground. The fat pad is usually robust enough to withstand high impact forces, such as those experienced through running which equate to five times the body weight.

Despite this, the fat pad is still susceptible to injury. There are two typical mechanisms that this may come about.

As we age, the fat pad is prone to degeneration, or thinning out. As a result, it’s effectiveness at providing appropriate cushioning is reduced. Being overweight, age, the individual mechanics of the foot, having a job that requires long hours of standing.

Trauma can also cause damage to the fat pad. This may be from standing on a sharp stone, or landing on the heel from a height.

Fat pad syndrome can be treated with a number of methods. The most common are Pain relief, strapping, cushioning, footwear, or orthotics, depending on the cause and severity of the problem.

Your podiatrist can help to differentiate fat pad syndrome from plantar fasciitis or a more serious condition of calcaneal fracture.