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Heel Pad Syndrome and Plantar Fasciitis

Heel Pad Syndrome and Plantar Fasciitis

Pain in the heel can be caused by two common conditions: Heel Pad Syndrome and Plantar Fasciitis. Both of these conditions can be effectively managed and improved with rest and appropriate stretching exercises. It is important to understand the causes and symptoms of these conditions in order to effectively treat and prevent heel pain. With the right approach, individuals can experience relief and regain their mobility.

The heel fat pads function as protective layers made up of fatty tissues, which play a vital role in providing cushioning for the bones, nerves, and blood vessels in your feet during various activities such as walking, running, and jumping. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, these important cushions can undergo damage, resulting in heel pain.


Experiencing discomfort in your feet can be a sign of Heel Pad Syndrome or Plantar Fasciitis, conditions that can be caused by excessive strain or damage to the corpus adiposum. Located on the sole of your foot, this fatty tissue is responsible for absorbing shock, safeguarding your bones and joints, and ensuring even weight distribution throughout your foot. By maintaining the health of this key component, you can prevent and manage these foot ailments effectively.

Heel Pad Syndrome and Plantar Fasciitis patients usually report heel pain that resembles stabbing sensations or pressing on bruises; the discomfort becomes increasingly intense when they stand or walk.

Heel Pad Syndrome can often be traced back to reduced elasticity in the fat pad, usually after falling from height or running on hard surfaces or engaging in activities that place too much strain on them.


Heel Pad Syndrome and Plantar Fasciitis can often be confused; both involve pain caused by atrophy of the fatty tissue layer that protects your heel bone. Treatment includes rest, icing and orthotics designed to support this fatty pad (available through podiatrist).

Your foot’s fat pad features a honeycombed structure with fibro-elastic chambers containing fat globules to absorb shock during your activities and distribute your weight more evenly while protecting your bones and joints from injury.

As you walk and run, this layer of tissue may stretch out due to pressure from walking on your heel bone, leading to inflammation, bruising, swelling and pain in your heel bone.

Pain in the heel typically becomes apparent upon taking your first few steps out of bed in the morning or after periods of rest, and can worsen with prolonged standing on hard surfaces such as concrete or carpet.


Heel Pad Syndrome can be diagnosed by performing a comprehensive physical exam that includes taking into account medical history and symptoms of foot pain. Your physician may order diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays, ultrasound or MRI in order to ascertain the source of heel discomfort as well as identify any additional potential issues.

Heel fat pad syndrome (HFPS) is a condition in which the heel pads become less effective at cushioning shock-absorbency, leaving the bone more susceptible to microtrauma that results in chronic inflammation, bruising, swelling and pain.

Treatment for heel fat pad syndrome usually involves conservative measures; these usually include reducing inflammation and restoring shock-absorbency properties of heel pads. Your healthcare provider may suggest restricting high-impact activities that place extra stress on them, such as running.

Heel fat pad syndrome typically arises as the result of thinned and degraded heel fat pads due to age or injury from running, jumping, or walking on hard surfaces. This thinning and degeneration may occur as a result of both overuse or injury such as running.


Heel Pad Syndrome and Plantar Fasciitis can often be treated by resting, icing and taking anti-inflammatory painkillers. Your doctor or podiatrist may also suggest simple exercises designed to increase flexibility of your foot and ankle.

Sometimes pain increases when walking on hard surfaces like concrete or tile, possibly caused by weakening of fat pad tissue and increased pressure exerted upon it.

If other treatments fail to relieve your heel pain, surgery may be required to release tension on the plantar fascia and bone base of your heel bone. This procedure typically involves cutting a slit into the plantar fascia tissue in order to separate it from bone base.

People suffering from obesity or conditions that weaken the muscles in their heel, such as diabetes, are at an increased risk for this condition. Furthermore, those who have previously received steroid injections into their heel could further weaken its structure and lead to further breakdown.


You might also like to read:

Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis and Inflammation Control
Plantar Fasciitis and Night Splints

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