Fat Pad Syndrome | Studio Podiatry | Podiatrist & Orthotics | Camp Hill, Brisbane 4152

What is it?

The fat pad at your heel bone is a protective shock absorber that acts to reduce the amount of stress going through the heel when you walk and run. Thinning or a breakdown of this fat pad can occur, resulting in a reduction of the cushioning that is present at the heel. This condition is known as fat pad syndrome and will result in the surrounding structures taking on heavier loads as the feet are not able to absorb shock as effectively. 

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain similar to a stone bruise 
  • Tenderness in the areas of atrophy 
  • Inflammation 
  • Callous and/ or corns 

Why did I get it?

The common factors that predispose patients to fat pad syndrome are; 

  • High levels of running
  • Heel strikers 
  • Poor biomechanics 
  • Incorrect footwear
  • Direct trauma to heel (e.g. a stone) 
  • Idiopathic (no known cause) 

How is it diagnosed?

A thorough clinical examination/ history will typically diagnose fat pad syndrome. Depending on the severity of symptoms, you may be referred for further diagnostic imaging to determine the extent of degeneration/ to rule out additional pathology. 

How can I treat it?

  • Footwear modifications/ advice
  • Anti-inflammatories 
  • Rest, ice, compression and elevation 
  • Activity modification 
  • Gait retraining 
  • Strapping
  • Custom orthotics 

Fat pad syndrome will generally heal within 1-2 months of commencing treatment. It is imperative during this time to focus on reducing pain levels and providing cushioning and stability to the affected area. 

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