What is Fat Pad Syndrome (Bruised Heel)? 

Fat pad syndrome refers to the breakdown or thinning of the protective cushioning fat pad that sits under the heel bone and the ball of the foot. It is most commonly seen in elderly people and can cause significant pain while walking, as the shock absorption from the fatty tissue is no longer there.

Signs and Symptoms 

This problem often presents with signs and symptoms similar to that of plantar fasciitis but requires a slightly different approach to treatment, so correct diagnosis is important.

The pain is often isolated to the middle of the heel bone with pressure and is greatest when standing for long periods, especially on hard surfaces with no shoes on.

Due to the lack of internal cushioning, callus may also develop quickly on the sole of the foot.

Causes of Fat Pad Syndrome 

Although plantar fat pad atrophy affects both men and women equally, the choice of footwear makes women more susceptible to developing pain.

Other causes may include:

  • Age related degeneration
  • High arches
  • Flat-feet
  • Improper footwear
  • High impact physical activity
  • Physical activities on hard surfaces
  • Diabetes

Conservative Treatment 

Our treatment plan for you may involve:

  • Weight-loss if this is a factor in the development of the syndrome
  • Relative rest
  • Anti-inflammatory medication as recommended by your GP
  • Activity modification to avoid high impact and hard surfaces
  • Padding and strapping techniques
  • Footwear advice
  • Heel padding
  • Orthotic therapy to cushion and redistribute weight evenly across the foot and assist with shock absorption