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Fat Pad Atrophy refers to the thinning or decreased size of the natural fat pads that provide cushioning for your foot. It is a common condition, which causes discomfort under the ball of the foot or heel.


Soreness in bottom of heel or ball of foot when standing

Diffuse pain that feels like a deep bruise

Pain worsens when walking barefoot on a hard surface or wearing hard soled shoes



Multiple steroid injections

Blow to the fat pad, like jumping on a hard surface barefoot


Treatment is aimed at protecting and cushioning the fat pad area and minimizing pain. Fat pad atrophy may or may not heal with time.

Avoid walking in bare feet

Wear shoes with extra padding

Use heel pad inserts or padded insoles

Use a heel cup in shoe, which “cups” the fat into place

Ice heel after exercise

Over the counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), as needed

Orthotics with appropriate cushioning and heel cup

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Fat Pad Atrophy Discussion Board

Ask questions and give suggestions in our Fat Pad Atrophy specific discussion board!

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Click on the view that most represents the area of discomfort that you are experiencing. Drag your cursor over your area of concern to obtain a brief description of the potential condition.

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