Heel Fat Pad

What is it?

Fat pad injuries in the heel are often confused for plantar fasciitis. The fat pad sits under the heel bone and is designed for shock absorption.

The fat pad can become inflamed and cause irritation, or shrink down and expose the heel bone which can cause a bruising sensation.

How is it diagnosed?

A heel fat pad can be determined through a physiotherapist taking a medical history as well as a physical examination. Imaging via ultrasound may also be used.

It is common for fat pad injuries to worsen with activity, whereas plantar fasciitis will often warm up. It will often be worse walking on hard surfaces or in shoes with less support.

It is commonly seen in runners and overweight individuals.

Heat Fat Pad Treatments

Short term treatments will include offloading the area to allow for the sensitisation to settle down. We can tape, fit in heel cups, or trial NSAIDS if it is inflammatory in nature.

Long term treatments will aim to address any movement, strength, and flexibility deficits specific to the activity you would like to get back to.

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