Pain in the heel frequently occurs and there are many different reasons for this. Plantar fasciitis is by far the most common problem and is typically simple to diagnose. However, there are many other reasons that are not as common and are more difficult to diagnose. Among the less common conditions is a ailment known as heel fat pad atrophy. There is a layer of fat beneath the heel which provides a cushion and shock absorber when we are walking or running. Generally there's sufficient fat there to provide that cushioning, however in some people it atrophies or wastes away and it might no longer protect the heel with that shock reduction. Precisely why it occurs isn't completely obvious, but there is some atrophy of that fat pad with growing older and some just appear to atrophy more than others quicker. The main signs of fat pad atrophy are increasing pain with weight bearing underneath the heel. It is also crucial that you eliminate other conditions because they may exist concurrently.

The main approach to take care of heel pad atrophy is to replace the fat that has wasted away. The easiest way is to use padding in the footwear to cushion the heel. This is usually made from a silicone gel which has the same consistency as the natural fat. This can act as a substitute for the fat that has atrophied. This commonly deals with almost all cases of this and that is all that has to be done. The only issue with this approach is you need to wear the pads and you can’t do that when barefoot or in sandals without difficulty. The only other choice is a surgical procedure called augmentation in which some fat is surgically implanted underneath the heel. The inserted fat may come from another part of the body or might be artificially made in the laboratory. The longer term results of this type of approach aren't yet known, however early results from the procedure appear excellent.