Health Advice



From flat foot to fat foot -- a new way to treat plantar fasciitis

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik led the major leagues in stolen bases in 2004 with 70, but chronic pain from plantar fasciitis benched him off-and-on during his 12-year career. Too bad they hadn't yet postulated that injecting his own body fat into his foot could treat the persistent crippling pain.

PF is caused by inflammation of connective tissue that runs from the heel to the toes and supports the arch. It affects around 2 million people in the U.S. For many with an acute form of the condition, cold packs for 20 minutes three times a day, stretching, shoe orthotics or cortisone injections provide relief. But about 10% of folks develop chronic problems that cause the foot's collagen to degenerate and the connective tissue to thicken.

Now researchers have published a pilot study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery that suggests that the use of stem cells and growth factors in the body's fat, when injected to the inflamed area, may stimulate wound healing with reduced scarring. This is in place of the traditional approach, which involves the surgical release of the connective tissue, sometimes causing scar tissue and more pain or triggering destabilization of the foot.

A larger clinical study is coming -- they want the procedure to be recognized as a medical necessity so that it can be covered by insurance and become more widely available. I'm skeptical, but hopeful. If you're limping along with PF, ask your podiatrist or orthopedic foot specialist to watch for more data about this potential treatment.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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