Y’all know I’m a lifelong runner. I’m like Forrest Gump; once I started, I just kept going. As I lifer, I’ve had injuries along the way, one of which was thought to be fat pad atrophy. I know, I laughed too.
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On the other hand, my doc was all business and suggested that I get some gel heel cups, to which I literally rolled my eyes and may have even released a guffaw. My pain, my special pain, was an 8 on a good day and tiny little gel inserts were gonna be my answer?
Doc Man advised that heel cups can relieve all kinds of heel pain. What?!
After I got over myself, I took a minute and tried to understand my silly sounding diagnosis.
Um, my fat pad is atrophying? Is that even a thing? Fat, like the stuff in may thighs, can atrophy? Yes, yes and yes.
After I stopped laughing in-between being horrified and intrigued, I had no idea if there was a cure, because this was the very first time in all my advanced years, that I had heard about this malady, although I will confess to thinking about a possible liposuction transplant, ’cause I knew I had plenty to spare.
How does one get this silly sounding ailment? I probably didn’t get it from running and neither did you, if you have fat pad atrophy. Yeah, I laughed again. The most common causes are age (got that!), being overweight, and injury to your heel from landing on a hard surface (after a jump or fall), or from stepping hard on a rock, which is something that happens to me a lot because of my proclivity to walk around barefoot even when painting the outside of the house.
Symptoms include: Pain in the middle of the heel, that feels like a deep bruise (I kept asking Husband if he could see a bruise on my heel, before I was diagnosed). When walking, the pain will be felt more on the outer side of the heel. Pain is aggravated when you walk on hard surfaces, especially when, um, barefoot.
So yeah, it’s apparently a thing.
Fat pad Atrophy…what’s a gal to do?
Wear the heel cups! Fine. I’ll humor you, Mr. Doctor Man….
These are the ones I have:
And they look like these:
Seriously, Doc, don’t kid a kidder. These feel like gummy gears. Mmmmm, gummy bears…..
He wasn’t kidding, so I took my running shoes (these are older shoes, for the sake of demonstration, lest you think I still run in these dilapidated grass-mowin’ shoes):
Take out the shoe’s original insert. The insert is NOT an orthotic, merely the removable bottom part of the inside of your shoe.
Next, take the gel heel cup, that actually looks nothing like a cup and slip it under the heel portion of your insert:
Closer look…can you see the grass on the insert? I had just finished mowing the lawn.
Now fit everything back into the shoe. It will be snug, but make sure the insert is properly placed and not crooked:
See? Like nothing’s in your shoe. The only thing you’ll feel is a bit of a lift:
That’s it. Done. All that’s left is to wear them and wonder how the fix could be so stinkin’ easy.
Just so you know, prior to my doc figuring out what was wrong with me, I had already gone three weeks without running. I was in so much pain, it just wasn’t possible. Worst yet, I was in the middle of training season and BAM! injured.
We went through many possibilities from plantar fasciitis to a stress fracture, so you can see why I was giving him such grief when he actually came up with the easy-peasy to fix diagnosis. I went from possibly wearing a boot and not running for six-weeks, to inserting gel cups and getting back to thangs.
If you are suffering from fat pad atrophy (still giggling) it couldn’t hurt to try this low cost and simple solution.
UPDATE: Come to find out I don’t have heel pad atrophy. WHAT?! Yep, wrong diagnosis. (running injury = booo!) Still, the pads made my feet feel better and when things get iffy, I still slip in the inserts. So there ya have it. Definitely worth the low-cost try.