Bruised heel

A bruised heel involves damage to the tissues beneath the heel and characterized by pain. The treatment for this injury typically includes rest and protecting the area with padding or taping as well as pinpointing the possible causes.

What are the indications?

  • Pain beneath the heel bone that develops gradually
  • Walking can be uncomfortable or painful
    Bruised heel

    If there is repetitive pounding of the heel, it causes the fat padding to be crushed and displaced to the side of the heel.

The individual might continue with activity despite experiencing mild symptoms before they become severe that it prevents him/her from engaging in any activity.

If the area beneath the heel is pressed, pain arises. The symptoms are strikingly the same with plantar fasciitis, but a bruised heel is not worse upon waking up in the morning and does not radiate to the arch of the foot. In addition, the pain often settles with rest.

What are the causes?

A bruised heel is typically triggered by overuse such as long distance running, repetitive bounding or landing heavily on the heel. It is important to note that the heel bone is shielded by a padding of fatty tissue.

If there is repetitive pounding of the heel, it causes the fat padding to be crushed and displaced to the side of the heel. As an outcome, it leaves behind a thin protective layer that can result to bruising of the bone and pain.

Management of a bruised heel

If the heel pain is detected early and the individual could rest immediately, it can recuperate quickly within a few days. In case the initial onset of pain is ignored and the fat padding is damaged beyond repair, the injury is difficult to treat.

Self-care measures

It is vital to rest until the pain has settled. If activity is continued, the affected foot could not heal. In case it is required to use the feet, a shock absorbing and cushioning padding must be placed inside the shoes along with taping of the heel for added protection. Additionally, if the running shoes used are worn out, they should be replaced.

Medical care

When a doctor is consulted, the possible causes are identified so that the suitable treatment can be started such as insoles, heel padding, orthotics and correcting any biomechanical issues of the foot. In addition, the heel is taped to provide further protection and support as it heals.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a bruised heel is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage muscle and tendon injuries including a bruised heel by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.


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