Foot Fat Grafting

Foot Fat Grafting: Everything You Need to Know

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Our feet support the weight of our body, and when we walk, enormous pressure is on them. However, they have natural protection from this pressure in the form of fat localized on our pad. The foot pad fat serves as protection from shearing and provides shock absorption each time we walk. In time these fat deposits can reduce for various reasons, and people may start experiencing pain and discomfort. Foot fat grafting, a non-invasive procedure, can help treat this condition by injecting new fat cells into the foot pad, providing a new layer of protection.

What Is Fat Pad Atrophy?

Our foot has pads that are made of fat that surround the bone and provide protection and shock absorption while we are walking. In time and due to some medical conditions, these pads can shrink, and that is called fat pad atrophy. This is an abnormal breakdown of the fat pad, and it causes pain and discomfort. Also, fat pad atrophy can lead to other conditions such as callus, ulcers, and corns on the bottom of big toes    

What Are the Causes of Fat Pad Atrophy?

Even though fat pad atrophy or breakdown of fat pads can happen to anybody, certain conditions and activities can increase the risk of developing fat pad atrophy. Here are the main causes of it:

  • Aging – as we age, the fat reduces in our body naturally, and the same can happen to our feet. 
  • High arches – If a person has high arches, the pressure will be higher on the foot pads. 
  • Wearing high heels – High heels can produce more pressure on the foot pad leading to fat pad atrophy and other conditions such as the formation of corns on the big toe.
  • Diabetes – People with diabetes are more prone to develop fat pad atrophy. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition will cause clawing of the toes and other bones in the foot, which can lead to fat pad atrophy in time. 
  • Running and jumping.
  • Standing for long periods.
  • Injury.

How Can Foot Fat Grafting Help You?

If you have fat pad atrophy and want to prevent the development of other foot-related conditions, the best procedure you can undergo is foot fat grafting. Unlike bunion surgery, where you can have invasive or minimally invasive procedures depending on your condition, with foot fat grafting, the procedure is almost always non-invasive. 

The foot fat grafting procedure will replace the fat pad cushion and will provide relief from pain. The new fat that will be placed into the patient’s pad will provide a new layer of cushioning and protection around the bones in the foot. This will allow patients to walk and resume normal activities without any pain and discomfort. And it will reduce the risk of developing other foot problems like corn or warts

Woman holding her feet in the air

When Should You Visit the Doctor?

There are many symptoms and conditions on the foot that a person can experience and mix up with some other conditions. This is why it is crucial to visit your doctor if you feel any pain or discomfort, so you can have the right diagnosis and treatment for that condition because symptoms for flat feet and fat pad atrophy can be similar while the treatment is completely different. Here are the most common symptoms of fat pad atrophy: 

  • Pain in the heel and ball of the foot,
  • Pain that is worse when standing and goes away when sitting,
  • Pain when walking barefoot or in high heels,
  • Callus and corns formation.

How Does the Procedure Go?

Most foot-related conditions are usually treated lightly only when conditions start to cause a lot of pain and discomfort when we decide to visit our doctor and think about big toe surgeries or some other procedures. Luckily, treatment for fat pad atrophy is minimally invasive, and it is done with local anesthesia. Foot fat grafting means that the fat will be injected into the foot pad. The surgeon will use specialized small cannulas to harvest the fat (liposuction) from your abdomen or thighs and then use other cannulas to inject the aspirated fat into your foot pad. Local anesthesia will be administered on both sights to rescue discomfort.   

How Long Does the Recovery Last?

Once your procedure is complete, the feet will be bandaged for twenty-four hours, and the patient will be advised to take minimal action. Afterward, for the next three weeks, the patient will be advised to wear supportive sneakers that are well cushioned and to avoid any demanding activities such as running or long walking.

Consult Your Surgeon in Miami About Foot Fat Grafting

If you experience any pain and discomfort in your feet, feel free to contact us today and schedule an appointment with our surgeon. If you believe that you have fat pad atrophy, don’t worry – the foot fat grafting procedure can reduce discomfort and pain. It is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed under local anesthesia and with a short recovery time. So if you are eager to start walking again without any pain or discomfort, make sure you contact Luxe Foot Surgery today and talk to our doctors about your next steps. 

FAQ

How Long Does Foot Fat Grafting Last?

Even though fat in your foot will start to reduce in a six month period, most patients will feel relief and the absence of pain for two years after the surgery is done. However, this period can be shorter. It all depends on the patient’s daily habits and activities. After the surgery, your doctor will provide you with information on how to maintain the effects of the procedure for the longest. 

Do You Need Anesthesia for Fat Grafting? 

If fat grafting is performed on the larger area, the surgeon will then administer general anesthesia. However, if you are undergoing foot fat grafting, there will be no need for general anesthesia; only local anesthesia will be administered. 

How Painful Is a Fat Graft?

The fat graft procedure is considered to be minimally painful. However, in some cases, like fat transfer to the lips, it can cause bruising and swelling. Foot fat grafting will not cause any pain, but patients may feel discomfort and soreness for a couple of days. 

References 

  1. UPMC. (n.d.). Foot Fat Grafting. Retrieved from https://www.upmc.com/services/plastic-surgery/services/regenerative-cell-and-tissue-therapies/foot-fat-grafting
  2. ClinicalTrials.gov. (2013, March 22). Fat Grafting for Pedal Fat Pad Atrophy. Retrieved from https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01796808

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