If you’ve ever experienced pain in the ball of your foot, commonly known as metatarsalgia, then it’s possible you may be experiencing fat pad atrophy (FPA), or the wearing down of the plantar fat pad in your feet. Due to the natural thinning that occurs as we age, FPA is more common in elderly patients, but it also occurs in people who frequently wear high heels, walk barefoot, wear thin-soled shoes, have high arches, or are overweight.
The main function of the plantar fat pad is to protect the underlying structures from pressure, so without the padding, the weight from your body shifts onto these bones and can lead to pain, inflammation and over time, pain under the ball of your foot.
Symptoms of fat pad atrophy can include:
- Sharp, aching or burning pain
- Pain that worsens when you stand, run, or walk barefoot
- A feeling of having a pebble in your shoe
“Fat pad atrophy is extremely common among our elderly patients, but I see it in patients who play high impact sports, too,” says Dr. Marc Borovoy, a podiatric physician at Associated Podiatrists PC. “The more pressure applied to that area of your foot, the faster your natural padding will break down.”
Currently, the conservative treatment(s) for FPA consist of cushioning pads or shoe inserts, however, depending on the severity, can only provide patients with minimal relief. If left untreated, FPA can cause significant pain and limitation of function, but may also lead to pain in other parts of the body, such as the knees or lower back, due to altered gait.
“Sculptra is a quick, safe, and biocompatible solution that replaces the areas that have atrophied over the years,” Dr. Borovoy continues. “It allows the patient to bear weight the same day, and depending on the level of atrophy, can allow patients to remain active and pain-free for up to a year.”
To learn more about Sculptra injections or to make an appointment for this innovative procedure, please feel free to contact our office at (248)348-5300 or request an appointment on our website. Our podiatrists, Marc A. Borovoy, DPM, and John D. Miller, DPM, are experts in all areas of foot and ankle care, and will be happy to assist you with any problems you may be experiencing.