Too much fat isn’t great for your joints. It puts added pressure on them and can create a perfect setting for pain.
Of course, that might not be the case if it’s not in your belly.
The results of a small pilot study suggest that injecting a patient’s own fat cells into the foot may help ease the excruciating pain of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is a common inflammatory condition that may impact more than two million Americans.
The fascia is a ligament that runs from the heel to the toe, supporting the arch of your foot. Painful plantar fasciitis has several potential triggers, including:
- Excessive foot stretching
- Putting too much weight on the inside of the foot
- Weight gain
- Excess exercise
- Tight tendons
When people have it bad, it generally causes sharp pain, like a nail or needle pushing through the heel bone. It is most common in the morning or when standing up but may subside with movement. A throbbing pain is likely to occur in the evening.
The new study involved researchers taking a small amount of abdominal, inner thigh, or love handle fat and injecting it into the bottom of the foot where the fascia connected with the heel bone.
The procedure was performed under local anesthetic, and the researchers said a notable difference in pain was observed in participants, and many were able to return to activities they had abandoned because of the pain.
Fat may offer help in this case because it can contain stem cells and growth factors that stimulate blood flow. This may then speed the healing process to help minimize pain.
It should be noted again that this was an experimental procedure, and far more work needs to be done to see if it is truly effective. You can find the study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.