Wellness Osteo

Wellness Osteo

At Wellness Osteo, we are osteopaths who focus on achieving optimal health and wellness, which means treating you and sharing our expertise with you. Read on for the ins and outs of osteopathy.


Heel Fat Pad Syndrome

Heel Fat Pad Syndrome

What is it?

Heel fat pad syndrome is the thinning of the fat pad that supports and cushions your heel.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Deep bruise-like pain in the middle of your heel when you walk, stand or run.
  • Deep pain that can be reproduced with a firm press to the middle of your heel.
  • Pain that increases in severity when standing or walking for long periods.

What causes fat pad syndrome?


  • Ageing – fatty tissues and elasticity declines
  • Increased body weight – this puts additional pressure on the heel pad
  • Trauma to the heel pad
  • Gait imbalances
  • Wearing unsupportive footwear or no footwear
  • Walking on hard surfaces repetitively 

How is fat pad syndrome diagnosed?

A thorough medical history and examination can lead to the diagnosis of fat pad syndrome.
Sometimes imaging will be required to rule out other pathologies. 

How is heel pad syndrome treated?

Treatments include conservative approaches and more advanced techniques. 

Conservative treatment methods include:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Pain medications
  • Wearing supportive footwear
  • Taping the heel
  • Wearing heel cups, shoe inserts, or cushioned socks
  • Performing strengthening and stretching exercises of the lower limbs

Advanced treatment options include:

  • Injectables – a synthetic filler is injected to thicken the fat pad. This can last from 6-12 months
  • Fat grafting – a small amount of fat is placed into your heel. 
  • Surgery – this is sometimes necessary to correct physical deformities of the lower limb 

As always, prevention is better than cure. Prevention strategies include:

  • Wearing supportive footwear
  • Limiting time spent in high-impact or prolonged weight-bearing activities
  • Maintain a healthy body weight

Other conditions which can be confused with fat pad syndrome include stress fracture and plantar fasciitis.

Therefore, it is important to get heel pain assessed and treated correctly.