heel pad syndrome

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Is the heel pain after running necessarily plantar fasciitis? It may also be heel pad syndrome.</p>
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People who exercise often mention heel pain, and often people��s first reaction is plantar fasciitis. There is also a lot of information on the causes, symptoms, treatments, etc. of plantar fasciitis on the Internet, but few people mention heel pad syndrome with similar symptoms.</p>
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What is heel pad syndrome?</p>
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When walking or running, some people��s heels touch the ground first and then transfer their weight to the forefoot. The moment the heel touches the ground, it will produce an impact that is several times the body weight, and there is not much muscle protection under the heel, so the soft cushion under the heel is particularly important.</p>
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This soft pad is called a heel pad and is located between the calcaneus and the sole skin, and has a thickness of about 10-20 mm. The honeycomb-shaped closed chamber formed by elastic fibers is filled with fat cells and tissue fluid.</p>
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The golden part in the picture is the heel pad</p>
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The heel pad is actually made of fat to be less rigorous, so some people call it a fat pad. It’s just that the fat is wrapped in a honeycomb-like structure, giving it better cushioning and elasticity.<br>Some people may think this is very similar to the popcorn midsole of running shoes. Similar in a sense, the heel pad is one of the most elastic tissues in the human body, playing the same cushioning effect as the midsole of a running shoe.</p>
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But when a strong external force breaks the honeycomb structure, the fat cells in the cavity will flow with each other, the heel pad will begin to expand outward, and the elasticity and thickness will decrease accordingly. This is the heel pad syndrome.</p>
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It is equivalent to a direct collision of the heel bone with the ground in the most extreme conditions.</p>
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In addition to the impact force generated during exercise, the external force here also causes the heel pad to become thinner due to long-term wearing of shoes that do not fit the feet and heavyweight. In addition, aging is also one of the reasons. From the picture below, we can clearly see that the 60-year-old heel pad is much thinner than the 20-year-old heel pad.</p>
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Comparison of 20-year-old and 60-year-old heel pads</p>
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<br>Common symptoms of heel pad syndrome</p>
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The symptom similar to plantar fasciitis is that the pain will be more obvious when you wake up in the morning and just walk, especially in the first few steps. But the difference is that heel pad syndrome is not that sharp tingling sensation.</p>
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After prolonged exercise, walking, or standing, the pain will increase. And this pain will be magnified in bare feet or wearing hard shoes. The easiest way to distinguish them is to press on the center of the bottom of the heel pad. If there is a stronger pain, it is heel pad syndrome. The tender point of plantar fasciitis is generally located near the heel of the plantar.</p>
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In addition, the main reason for the formation of the heel pad syndrome mentioned above is the thinning of the fat pad, so when you touch the heel pad, you should feel the thinning and even the feeling of touching the bones. Under normal conditions, the touch is the feeling of thick soft tissue.</p>
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In addition to palpation, when using soft tissue ultrasound or MRI, you can clearly see that the fat content of the heel pad is reduced.</p>
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How to treat</p>
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When heel pain occurs, the first thing you need to do is to stop or reduce long-term exercise. You can use soft pads on the heel or choose more comfortable shoes to alleviate the pain.<br>In addition, we can help stabilize the recovery of the fat pad by sticking it and restrict its outward expansion.</p>
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Among the sports crowd, the main cause of heel pad syndrome is the pressure exerted by long-term greater intensity exercise on the fat pad, which causes the fat pad to become thinner and shrink, resulting in pain and other symptoms. Therefore, gradually increasing the amount of exercise, stretching before and after exercise (foot), and a pair of shoes with better cushioning can help reduce the chance of heel pain.</p>
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