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Fat pad contusion

Fat pad contusion is a painful condition of the heel. The heel feels bruised and is painful, particularly when pressure is applied.

What is fat pad contusion?

Fat pad contusion (also known as bruised heel) describes an injury to the heel. The heel bone is covered in a thick protective layer of fat, which acts as a shock absorber when walking or participating in sports. When the fat pad is damaged the result is pain at the bottom of the heel of the foot, which is described as a deep bruise.

What causes fat pad contusion?

Fat pad contusion results from either repetitive trauma to the heel or a single traumatic event (e.g. jumping onto a hard surface). Anybody can acquire fat pad contusion, however, some people are more at risk of developing the condition than others, and they include:

  • Runners (especially long distance)
  • Soldiers
  • Those who participate in activities/sports that involve jumping
  • Those who are overweight
  • People who have increased their training
  • Those who wear trainers that are worn out; reducing their shock absorption

What are the signs and symptoms of fat pad contusion?

The signs and symptoms of fat pad contusion may include:

  • Pain and tenderness when weight-bearing
  • Swelling
  • Heat and redness
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms at the heel please visit for an assessment.

How is a fat pad contusion diagnosed?

A podiatrist will able to tell you if you have fat pad contusion based on a thorough history and an examination of the area. It is important to visit a podiatrist if you think you have a fat pad contusion, as it can mimic other conditions (e.g. plantar fasciitis or a stress fracture).

Benefits of podiatry for fat pad contusion

If you have fat pad contusion the following benefits can be achieved following treatment at

  • Reduction in pain
  • Reduction in inflammation
  • Improvement in shock absorbency
  • Improved foot function
The aim of treatment for fat pad contusion is to reduce any pain and inflammation, to increase the shock absorbency at the heel, and to prevent further trauma.

What would podiatry for fat pad contusion involve?

Podiatrists are highly trained specialists in the foot and lower limb. If you have fat pad contusion a podiatrist will be able to give advice on the best way forward. A treatment plan will be devised based on your history, signs and symptoms, and an examination of the area.

Treatment for fat pad contusion may include:


Fat pad contusion is a painful condition of the heel, often described as a deep bruise. Fat pad contusion is caused by either repetitive trauma or a single traumatic event. For this reason those who participate in certain sporting activities, particularly those that involve jumping are prone to developing the condition. A podiatrist will be able to diagnose fat pad contusion and devise a treatment plan, which may consist of; strapping, rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E), heel cups and footwear with good shock absorption properties.

To arrange an assessment with one our podiatrists please email or call 0330 088 4222.

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