Pain on the under the heel of the foot may indicated a bruised heel. Under the heel is a layer of tissue and fat called a fat pad. This fat pad becomes inflamed and sore. This usually occurs from direct pressure such as jumping or landing on the heel or overuse, such as in cases of military personal marching long distances. Any bruising to the heel or ongoing heel pain should be looked at by an experienced chiropractor or physiotherapist.
Causes of a bruised heel
Generally speaking a bruised heel will occur from either too much direct pressure applied to the heel of the foot or repetitive overuse situation where too much pressure is applied to the bottom of the heel over time. Sports that involve jumping, bounding or running large distances are more likely to cause a bruised heel. Not all bruised heels come from sports, in situations where someone jumps from a height and lands on the feet or wears incorrect footwear over a long period of time can start to develop a bruised heel.
Symptoms of a bruised heel
The most common symptom is pain under the heel bone. Pain typically comes on gradually, or if lots of pressure is applied all at once the heel pain can come on suddenly. A bruised heel should be diagnosed by a chiropractor or physiotherapist with experience in bruised heels. This because other conditions such as plantar fasciopathy and achilles tendinopathy.
Treatment of a bruised heel
If a bruised heel is due to a one off activity such as a fall from a height or a period of over training or overuse, it is likely that by reducing the problematic activity and being sensible with training loads and activity levels, the bruised heel will recover. However if a bruised heel occurs during an athletic season or repetitive forces can’t be stop, you may need care from a physiotherapist or sports chiropractor. Recommended treatment options include:
- Self help treatment: Reduce the activity that makes it worse. Get some good shoes or footwear and if you are unsure ask your chiropractor or physiotherapist.
- Chiro & Physio: A chiropractor or physiotherapist can confirm the diagnosis and treat it as required. They will likely look at your biomechanics, sports or training program, and your footwear. They will show you how to tape your heel to take pressure off the fat pad and give you some strategies to self-manage this condition.
- Bruised heel taping: The aim of taping a bruised heel is to compress the soft tissue under the heel, which will increase the natural cushioning of the foot.
- Many people ask about heel cups and heel gel inserts and while some patients report this helps their bruised heel, others report irritation or no usefulness at all.
Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) is a chiropractic and physiotherapy treatment centre of excellence located in Balmain and Dee Why, Sydney. Your health and injury recovery is what matters most, our chiropractors and physiotherapists use treatments of the highest standards to get you back to your pre-injury function as quickly as possible.