Plantar Fat Pad Atrophy / Heel Pad Inflammation

Plantar fat pad atrophy refers to the thinning or breakdown of the fat pads on the bottom of the hell or forefoot. As a result, the bones are placed under increased pressure and are more susceptible to injury. Plantar fat pads are located at the heel and at the ball of the foot.


Age is the most common cause of progressive thinning of the plantar fat pad. Other causes may include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Medical conditions such as diabetic neuropathy
  • Surgery/trauma
  • Certain medications
  • Certain footwear such as high heels can cause increased pressure on the plantar fat pad.


When plantar fat pads are thinned or broken down, the bones will start taking on a much heavier load and the feet will not be able to absorb shock as effectively. This can cause:

  • Pain and tenderness in the areas of atrophy
  • Inflammation
  • Callous and/or corns
  • Ulceration


As the damage and thinning to the plantar fat pads is largely irreversible, treatments will largely focus on increasing the cushioning and shock absorption under the areas of atrophy. This is often done through a combination of good footwear as well as orthoticsAvoiding activities that exacerbate the symptoms such as walking in bare feet and maintaining a healthy weight can also help minimise the onset of painful symptoms.

For best management of fat pad atrophy symptoms please visit Foot focus Podiatry in Perth by calling 9258 4152 or booking online.

We are located in Perth (south of the river) in Wilson, which is neighboured by Curtin University, Como, Manning, South Perth, Victoria Park, Bentley, St James, Cannington / Carousel, Riverton, Shelley, Ferndale, Lynwood, Parkwood, Willetton and surrounding suburbs.

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