Foot pain may be solved by fat

Foot pain may be solved by fat

Do you ever wish your feet were just a little … fatter?

If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis pain, you soon might be.

Notorious for being one of the most widespread causes of foot pain, plantar fasciitis (plan-tar fash-she-eye-tuss) occurs when a thick band of tissue (the plantar fascia) supporting the foot’s arch becomes inflamed or damaged. It makes up about 80% of heel pain cases.

Treatments run the gamut from steroid injections, which can weaken the plantar fascia and typically only provide brief relief, to surgery, which carries its own multitude of potential complications. Thus, it comes as no surprise that clinicians are on the lookout for a safer option.

Now, researchers in Pittsburgh are looking at using injections of fat into the sole of the afflicted foot to relieve pain — and finding some promising results.

Using a blunt needle, researchers created a small injury that stimulated wound healing, then injected fat containing stem cells and other growth factors that assisted in bringing in more blood to the wound site. According to the study, part of the reason for injecting fat in the first place was to capitalize on its regenerative properties.

Researchers found that the thickness of the plantar fascia decreased after treatment at six months, and continued up to a year. Participants reported that the unlikely treatment decreased their pain while improving mobility.

The researchers intend to expand their research based on this initially encouraging finding in the female study participants. But for now, it’s looking like feet may be one place fat is encouraged.

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