Study Shows That Injecting Fat to The Heels Could Alleviate Heel Pain

A study by the University of Pittsburgh has found that transplanting fat to the heel could treat heal pain. According to the University of Pittsburgh’s professor of plastic surgery, Jeffery Gusenoff, the team came up with the treatment to leverage fat and its regenerative abilities.

Gusenoff adds that the fat injections to the heels helped treat heal pain in the study participants. The volunteers were also able to engage in sports and other activities they did before having heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain

The most common reason for heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This disorder is characterized by pain in the plantar fascia. This connective tissue goes from the toes to the heels and helps support the foot arch. About 2 million Americans suffer from plantar fasciitis.

A clinical assistant professor of plastic surgery at the university, Beth Gusenof, adds that patients often experience pain from plantar fasciitis when they move from a sleeping or sitting position. Many of them describe it as a feeling like a nail going through their heel.

Plantar fasciitis is often treated with cortisone injections, shoe orthotics, and stretching. However, in 10% of the cases, the plantar fascia thickens, and the collagen of the foot begins to degenerate. As a result, the condition becomes chronic.

In chronic plantar fasciitis, a surgeon could cut the plantar fascia. However, many podiatrists agree this isn’t the best treatment. The reason is that patients can form scar tissue after the procedure, making the foot unstable. In these cases, the patients could have floppy feet.

How researchers conducted the study

The researchers found that they could alleviate the pain by injecting fat into the heel as it replaced the fat lost between the heel and ball of the foot.

The team gathered 14 patients with chronic plantar fasciitis. They split the volunteers into two groups. With the first group, the team used blunt needles to perforate the fascia. This procedure made slight injuries so that the body could begin healing. They then injected them with fat.

Researchers monitored the volunteers for a year. The other group was given the same procedure six months later and observed after six months. Researchers discovered that the first had better recovery after a year and had a better quality of life.

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