Heel Contusion - Bruise

Foot & Toe
NASPE/NCAT Sport Injury Resource

The heel has a thick, heavy fat pad covering the bottom of the heel. Sometimes this pad becomes inflamed due to sudden stop-and-go actions or sudden changes from vertical to horizontal positions. These forceful movements can bruise the heel pad and cause pain in the heel during weight-bearing activities. The heel will be tender to touch and often there is warmth and redness over the area.
Initially, ice and rest (no weight placed on the heel) should be applied. The athlete should try not to step on the heel for 24 hours. Two to three days after initial injury, heat should be applied (i.e., warm water, heating pad, etc.). If pain when walking has decreased, a protective heel cup (found at local drug stores or running shops) or doughnut pad should be applied in the shoe or on the heel before the athlete resumes moderate activity. Proper shock-absorbing footwear should also be worn during activity.

If heel pain persists, the athlete should be referred to a physician for an x-ray. Sometimes the plantar fascia becomes irritated due to a bone spur on the bottom of the heel.

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