Bruised Heel Bone or Pad [Causes, Symptoms & Best Treatment!]
95% of the time a bruised heel bone is a contusion or damage to the tissues under the heel causing pain. There may also be a heel spur or plantar fasciitis!
- One of the top causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, this is damage to a ligament that holds your heel to your toes.
- There are also photos of heel spurs that can occur to the bottom of your heel (plantar fascia insertion) and the back of your heel (Achilles tendon insertion).
- Baxter’s nerve entrapment can also happen at the bottom of the heel.
- An underlying cause is an over pronated flatfoot, or an over supinated high arched foot.
- This can lead to the formation of a heel stress fracture( AKA calcaneus stress fracture.
Please click on the gallery for a guided tour through heel pain conditions!
Bruised Heel Bone Overview:
- A bruised heel is a bruise of the fat pad in the heel.
- It can result from stepping on a hard object and it can be very painful.
- If you have a bruise heel, it may feel as if you are walking on a pebble.
- This pain is persistent and it takes a few days to improve.
What Is A Bruised Heel?
- A bruised heel is a deep contusion that forms mainly on the heel of the foot. This can extend into the fat pad of the heel. Although a bruised heel can happen on the ball of the foot, the main common site of injury is the heel. As mentioned earlier, if you have a bruised heel, you will feel like you are walking on a pebble.
- The bruised tissue is damaged, come cells burst, and the inflammatory response is triggered. As with any other tissue inflammation, dolor, or pain is a common symptom. So the pain that you may be feeling is due to inflammation and can be alleviated by the use of anti-inflammatory medication.
- A bruised heel can be caused by either a sudden impact (such as landing heavily) or repetitive pounding. The heel bone (calcaneus) is protected by a pad of fat. Repeated pounding of the heel can cause the fat pad to be pushed up the side of the heel leaving less of a protective layer causing heel pain.
- This injury is also sometimes known as Policeman’s heel. It is common in sports requiring a lot of impact onto the heel and in particular soldiers marching up and down on the parade square.
How do you get a Bruised Heel?
The heel is the most common location of a bruised heel because when a person runs or falls, the large majority of the body’s weight rests on the heels. bruised heels occur more often in older people or in people who have a thin fat pad under the heel bone.
You may be at risk of developing Bruised Heel if:
- You have a thin fat pad under your heel bone.
- If you are 50 years of age or older
- You are overweight
- You engage of physical activities that put pressure on the feel such as running and skating
- You do not wear shoes that support your feet.
Sometimes the bruised heel pain is not caused only by inflammation in the foot pad. This pain can be caused by a Bruised Heel Bone. Visit this page for more information about the symptoms and the treatments of a Bruised Heel Bone.
The pain that you feel after stepping on a stone or hard surface can also be caused by another condition called metatarsalgia. For more information visit this page. Metatarsalgia.
How do you get a Bruise on the ball of the foot?
- The ball of the foot is the second most common location for a stone bruise.
- Although the majority of the weight of the body rests on the heels, the ball of the foot has a much thinner padding than the hell.
- For this reason, it is more likely to bruise under the right circumstances.
- As you get older, your fat pad becomes thinner and therefore, your foot is more likely to bruise.
Bruised Heel Recovery Time?
The bruised heel may take a couple to a few days to get better. The recovery time depends of the severity of the bruise.
How to treat a Bruised Heel?
A bruised heel causes a lot of pain. This is mainly because if the activated inflammatory response. In order to decrease the recovery time, it is important to try to reduce the inflammation in the area.
Here are some treatment options:
- Treatment consists or rest, ice & elevation.
- There is no secret to a bone bruise, it will get better very quickly.
- It is also possible to take anti-inflammatories, but the pain will likely be better by the time they take effect.
- If the pain is consistent, consider fat pad atrophy.
- To treat fat pad atrophy, consider cushioned gel shoes & especially getting new shoes.
A bruised heel, also known and Policeman’s Heel is a contusion or damage to the tissues under the heel causing pain.
Treatment of a Bruised Heel: What can the athlete do about heel pain?
- Rest until there is no more heel pain.
- Pad the heel of shoes with shock absorbing insoles or heel pads. These should be worn in both shoes, even if only one heel is bruised.
- Wearing a raise in only one shoe causes a leg length difference which can cause further problems higher up!
- Replace running shoes if they are old (more than 400 miles of running) or the soles are weakened through use.
What can a professional do?
- A sports injury professional will confirm the diagnosis. View our video on heel pain from sports podiatrist Ian Sadler.
- Advise on insoles (orthotics) or heel pads to protect the fat pad in the heel.
- Tape the heel to provide pain relief and compress the soft tissue under the heel giving more protection to the bone.
How long will it take to recover?
- If you catch heel pain early and rest then it should recover quite quickly – within a few days.
- If you ignore the first onset of pain and the fat pad gets damaged beyond easy repair then this is a very difficult injury to treat. Rest means rest.
- There is no point you stopping running for a week if you put up scaffolding for a living and are on your feet every day. If you have to be on your feet then ensure you put a shock absorbing and cushioning heel insert into your shoes.
Bruised Heel Bone Home Treatment:
- These are great treatment options for a bruised heel bone.
- Even doing all the right stuff it can take a few days to start getting better!
- Bottom of the foot pain needs to be controlled in 2 phases: Inflammation control and correcting the biomechanics.
Best Heel Pain Products:
- There are usually two phases to treating plantar fasciitis pain.
- The two phases of treatment include controlling the acute inflammation, and correcting the biomechanics which led to the problem in the first place.
- If the tendons and ligaments are inflamed, they are almost frozen in place and cannot function properly.
- Once the inflammation is decreased, we need to correct the bio-mechanical causes to ensure that they can never become over worked and inflamed again!
- This doesn’t matter whether it’s plantar fasciitis, plantar fibroma, sore bottom of foot, or even Achilles tendon pain. Treatment is all roughly very similar.
Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles Tendonitis Inflammation:
Massage & Ice Products:
- Ice is the an excellent option that can be safe for almost everyone.
- There is some debate whether icing is worth doing, but for chronic pain this can help limit the need for medications and keep your options open.
- This works great for your arch, less for the ball of the foot.
- The more muscle and ligament tissue there is, the better ice will work there.
Menthol Based Gels:
- Biofreeze is one of our favorites.
- These gels have been studied to work 2x as long as ice.
- This works great for the ball of the foot.
- This can be very effective for bottom of the heel and Achilles tendon sore regions.
- These can work great for loosening your muscles.
- This allows less tightness and pressure on the ball of your foot.
- This is very effective for the arch, the gastrocnemius or calf muscle and for the hamstring and thigh muscles.
- This also works very well for the gluteus muscles if you are having butt cheek or hip pain.
Remove the Plantar Fascia or Achilles Tendon Stress:
- The key is to prevent future pain.
- This means keeping you active while keeping stress off of your plantar fascia tendon. This will prevent future re-injury and development of plantar fasciitis.
- If you can get rid of the pain and swelling, this will let you start walking normally.
- If you can walk normally, the vast majority of your pain should gradually start to go away.
- The best way to ensure that your plantar fascia, foot and ankle ligaments are not overworked is to support them.
- The best way to support them is to use great orthotics and great shoes.
- Some people may also need to rely on supportive ankle braces and other supportive modalities.
The Best Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis Shoes:
- Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will make sure that there is pressure removed from the heel and plantar fascia region.
- This is especially important if you have plantar fasciitis, heel spur pain or Achilles tendonitis.
- Consider shoes combined with a good supportive orthotic for best pain relief!
- The following link will show you what our favorites are.
Best Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics:
- These are our recommended orthotics for plantar fasciitis.
- Custom orthotics can work very well, but they should not be a first line of treatment.
- There are different types for different shoes.
- Women’s shoes usually need a less bulky orthotic, but allow for less correction.
- A full length orthotic requires a running shoe, boot or comfortable walking/dress shoe.
- We recommend doing everything you can to get a good supportive shoe that can fit a full length orthotic.
- This is the best way to maximize your orthotics for great results.
Best Full Length Orthotics:
- These will only work in wider shoes or a good supportive running shoe.
- This will not work in sandals, flats or most women’s dress shoes.
Best Dress Shoe Orthotics:
- These are a great choice for dress orthotics.
Best 3/4 Length Orthotics:
- These are great options for women’s dress shoes and thinner shoes.
- These are not the most supportive pair of orthotics.
Get A Great Dynamic Stretch:
- It is possible to stretch on your own, but these products can also really help!
- This will take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
- We personally prefer this method of stretching.
Get A Great Static Stretch:
- These devices are great for stretching while you are resting.
- This will also help take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
- This works great for plantar fasciitis.
- It can be used while watching TV or at night time.
Best Heel Compression Brace:
- A good compression brace can stabilize your foot from turning outward.
- This prevents your foot from pronated.
- Pronated foot will turn your foot outward in your foot will rub on the outside of the shoe.
- For many of her patients this has solved their pain and is very comfortable to wear inside your shoe.
- This solves both pain and outward pronation for a relatively low cost.
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Best Heel Stability Brace:
- Stability brace goes little bit further than the compression brace to stop your foot from turning out.
- This takes pressure off of your heel and plantar fascia.
- At the same time this is a little bit bulkier and does not affect every shoe.
- We find people are little bit happier trying the compression brace before the stability brace.
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- If you think you might have a broken heel, a calcaneal stress fracture or something of similar severity, these products might help!
- Always remember to see a foot and ankle specialist like a podiatrist if you are having plantar fasciitis or more severe pain!
Plantar Fascia Tear, Broken Heel Bone, Achilles Tendon Tear:
- If you have a traumatic injury such as a torn plantar fascia ligament, calcaneus stress fracture, heel fracture or insertional Achilles tendon injury: consider protecting your foot!
- The best way to do this is of course to see your podiatrist and get evaluated with an x-ray, ultrasound and potentially even an MRI or CT scan.
- If you are unable to do so it may benefit you to be in a cast, fractured boot, or even keep the weight off of it with a rolling knee scooter or other protective devices.
- We as podiatrists frequently take patients off work for very long period of time when they suffer a traumatic injury, unfortunately there is no other way around us in labor jobs.
- If you have a sit down job there are ways to get people back to work quicker, but this can be very difficult otherwise.
Heel Injury Boot Treatment:
- There are pros and cons to using a boot to treat your heel injury. If you are immobilized too long the cons are that you will gradually become stiff and overworked to your other leg. The Pros are that you injured heel will hopefully have a chance to gradually heal!
- Our favorite fracture boots and their supplies:
Offloading and Scooter treatment:
- These are favorite knee scooters and walking devices:
6 Common Causes of Heel Pain:
- It is said that 10-40% of people in the world will have chronic heel pain.
- 93% of that is said to be plantar fasciitis.
- This is the most common cause of heel pain in the world.
- It is said that 44% of all foot clinic visits are related to a combination of plantar fasciitis.
- If you have bottom of the foot and heel pain during the morning, this is likely plantar fasciitis!
- This usually gets better after 10-20 morning steps, but then hurts the next morning.
- This is most common cause of pain in the back of the heel. It is possible to develop heel spur and rest soreness at the site the Achilles tendon inserts.
- It is also possible to have it about 2 to 6 cm above the heel bone (This is called middle of the Achilles tendon pain).
- It is also possible to strain the actual calf muscle, but at this point is not Achilles tendinitis not heel pain.
- This is perhaps the most important ended in the body in terms of bearing weight.
- Common in older people, common and those have had steroid injections, it is thought that he can start at 40 but it does continue on later in life.
- We see this most commonly is much older people such as 60s, 70s, 80s and higher.
- If you are younger, it is very unlikely that this is your problem.
- This is usually achy, burning pain that gets worse during the day.
- This is a very common condition that we see overall, and it does need to be treated effectively!
- This is increased pain while you are bearing weight.
- These are typical during running sports and repetitive shocked heel.
- It is tested by checking side to side squeeze of the heel bone.
- The calcaneal squeeze test is a very important test in confirming that heel stress fracture.
- Click on the above link to make sure this is not your problem!
5) Radiculopathy (Back Pain):
- If you have ever had a back injury or nerve injury to your spine, it is very possible that you may have radiculopathy pain.
- This can cause numbness, burning and tingling type pain.
- We see this very commonly in people who have soreness and pain to both feet.
- If you have a prior back injury or surgery, this may be your problem.
- Baxter’s nerve compression and entrapment is not the most common cause of heel nerve pain.
- Some sources even say Baxter’s nerve compression can be involved in up to 20% of heel pain cases!
- This can result in more night time pain, as well as pain during rest.
- If you have numbness, burning and tingling it may be a Baxter’s pinched nerve in the heel!