How to Identify & Treat Heel Bruises

heel bruiseA heel bruise, aka a stone bruise or a calcaneal fat pad contusion, is caused by excess force directed to the bottom of the heel.

How the fat pad works

This specialized fat pad works much like a mattress as it cushions normal heel strikes and prevents the calcaneus (heel bone) from getting directly injured. Common ways people bruise their heel include:

  • Jumping and landing from a high place
  • Running with a heel strike instead of forefoot landing (see our discussions on barefoot running)
  • Stepping on a small stone

What happens during the injury

Heel bruising is caused by excessive force to the bottom of the heel. Depending on the energy of the injury the fat pad can be:

  • Contused (minor bruise with bleeding into the tissue)
  • Partially disrupted (split in half)
  • Completely disrupted (torn away from the bottom of the heel bone)

In higher energy injury cases, the calcaneus bone itself can be fractured

How to treat

Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest is the most important and the hardest to do. Foot problems are so prevalent in our society because we never give our feet a break. Professional athletes are some of the worst offenders at trying to return to activity too early.

What can go wrong

Returning to activity too quickly will not allow the fat pad to heal completely, resulting in a new bruise and resetting the healing process.

If excessive scarring forms, it can trap nerves that run through the bottom of the heel. These nerves don’t get better without release of the scar tissue. While surgery and the recovery are easy, making the diagnosis is quite challenging as it is almost always mistaken for Plantar Fasciitis. Skilled ankle and foot surgeons will spend the time necessary to make the distinction.

The following two tabs change content below.

Lance Silverman, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon and founder of Silverman Ankle & Foot. Treating Minnesotans with Ankle & Foot problems since 2004.


  1. says

    A bruised heel can be caused by either a sudden impact or repetitive pounding. Taping it up helps relieve the pain but the only way to effectively treat a bruised heel is rest. Wrap an elastic bandage around the bruise. This will also help to reduce the blood flow in the bruised area, and prevent veins from leaking. Always wear sturdy, supportive shoes and add a properly fitted arch support.

      • Lmccranie says

        “A bruised heel can be caused by either a sudden impact or repetitive pounding. Taping it up helps relieve the pain but the only way to effectively treat a bruised heel is rest. Wrap an elastic bandage around the bruise. This will also help to reduce the blood flow in the bruised area, and prevent veins from leaking. Always wear sturdy, supportive shoes and add a properly fitted arch support.”
        You commented that this was great advice, which I am following along with the RICE principal after suffering a heel bruise. Unfortunately, I was unaware that I had a heel bruise until two days after it occurred… I thought it was just sore from a sudden impact fall off of my paddle board. Am I too late to use the RICE principal here now that I am two days into this injury. We travel in one week and I want to heal as much as possible before then.. Please advise…

      • anklefootmd says

        Its never to late to give it a break. POLICE is better than RICE, though: Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Aka avoid overstressing your foot, regularly ice it for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours, and keep it elevated as much as possible.

  2. Liz Gaines says

    Thanks so much for this information. I injured my heel 18 months ago during a 5K trail run wearing my low profile cross-fit workout shoes. Then continued for six more months with cross-fit doing exercises like box jumps, jump rope, etc. Despite this background information 3 of the 4 podiatrists I have seen said it was Plantar Fasciitis (yes it hurts first thing in the morning, but also after being on my feet for an hour or so – at that point I am hobbling, limping from the pain – but this has just been for the last several months). Only the 4th one that I went to today said he thought it was a lack of heel pad and prescribed 4-6 weeks on crutches (plus icing). It will be inconvenient but I finally feel like I am on the right track.

  3. noris tavant says

    i stamp my feet as i was jumping off the sofa height to the floor. I did it few times before and it hurt for a 5-10min. Last two days.. i think i was too sleepy. i swing again and stamp my foot. this time, it hurts for 3 days. No signs of bruising.. its painful when i squeeze on both side heel.. and applying pressure. but i also cannot put too much pressure on left bottom. it hurts too. the fatty pad side doesnt hurt.. it just right infront of the fatty part hurt. inner part.. so is it heel contusion ?

    • says

      It’s unclear exactly what exactly you have, but if you have trouble bearing weight you should go obtain an evaluation by a physician. I hope your feet start to feel better.

  4. Emilie says

    I jammed my heel against a base while playing softball a week ago. It hurts and I have a hard time putting pressure on it while walking. I went for an X-ray today and was told there wasn’t an obvious fracture. Is my best bet to stay off of it and to ice and elevate? And should I hold off on returning to work until I can put pressure on my foot without pain?

    • says

      Ouch. Heel bruises can hurt. The bone may not be fractured in some injuries, but it can be bruised. These take months to resolve in some of the worst cases. Wearing a heel cushion can help.

      I will often put patients with bad heel bruises into a boot and offer crutches if it’s still painful. You always need to be concerned about a plantar fascia injury/rupture in the history you provided. Depending on your line of work, if you can manage with the help of a boot and/or crutches, that may be your best bet.

      Remember time heals all wounds, even those of the heel.

  5. says

    I bruised my heel a few months ago and it still hurts. Hard to walk when I wake. I recently had to drive a long distance and that did not help. When you say “compression” as part of the treatment, what actually does that entail. Not able to go to the doctors at this time.

    • says

      Hey Larry,

      Patients with symptoms like yours are more likely to have plantar fasciitis from those types of symptoms. You should seek advice from a qualified foot and ankle doctor in your area. There are plenty of non surgical treatments available, and your doctor can walk you through those options as well as discuss compression techniques. Hope your foot pain fades soon!

  6. George says

    (September 2012) I fell about 15 feet and landed on my right heel, outside edge. After the intial X-rays did not show a fracture I was recommended to a podiatrist. He diagnosed plantar-faciatis and gave me a cortisone shot in two places on my heel, in addition to prescription anti-inflammatory medicine.

    After months of pain, I sought another podiatrist(Dr #2.). After X-rays did not show anything, he sent me to physical therapy, which I attended for two months. I left pain free, believing I was 100% and slowly resumed mid-distance running and Olympic style power-lifting. (April 2013)

    After increasing the weights to 335 for squat and 350 for deadlift, I began to have the same heel pain. (October 2013) I have since nixed all squats, deadlifts, and other compound lifts that involve my feet. Revisiting Dr #2, he diagnosed me with tendonitis and sent me back to physical therapy, after fitting me with orthotics (Which were not cheap!). I’ve had three weeks in physical therapy (Same therapist as seen earlier in the year), and my foot pain is increasing.
    I have a follow-up appointment next week, and I will push to get an MRI done.

    I’m considering getting a second opinion or perhaps even a surgical consult. Can you please advise on on the best course of action?

    I ship for Army officer school in March, and injuries of any kind are not looked kindly upon; doubly so for feet. With 165 folks in one class and a 30% attrition rate you can see my cause for concern.

    • says

      The story is told well, but there is a good physical examination missing. If the bone wasn’t broken and there was an interval of being pain free, this is likely a ligamentous problem. The diagnosis of tendinitis is generally seen in ligament problems.

      Physical therapy is good treatment, but this may be a cycle: PT, feel better, go back to activity, hurt again, etc.

      My recommendation for patients with this typical cycle is to evaluate and see if instability is causing the disorder. An MRI will show old and new tears and other occult injuries, but it won’t tell you if the joints are stable or not.

      • George says


        I saw Dr #2 earlier this week and had an MRI done; the results were surprising. Tendinitis of the peroneus longus, and a 12MM osteochondral lesion + subchondral lesion. I have been referred to an orthopedic surgeon for a consult : (

        I am still headed to get a second opinion next week for good measure.

      • says

        The ankle is likely unstable in these cases. Expect a good exam to demonstrate that. 

        – Lance Silverman M.D.

        952-224-8500 office 952-224-8515 fax 952-649-0068 cell

        Silverman Ankle & Foot Follow us on FB, Twitter, Google+

        On Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 9:36 AM, Minnesota Ankle & Foot Blog

  7. says

    Oy. I did a stupid thing and jumped 6-7 feet onto a concrete bunker in the S. Pacific – in bare feet. My R heel/foot has been excruciatingly painful ever since, though I’m still able to walk. Swelling on outside of heel continues 9 days later.

    I presume this is a bruise and not a fracture, as I am still able to walk. Unfortunately, I am overseas and do not have much ability to RICE.

    Should I really be making the effort to stay off the foot? if so, I’ll miss my whole planned trip.

    Thank you.

    Clay Evans

    • says

      Hey Clay,

      You cannot assume anything after a fall with that energy imparted to the heel bone. You could have a fracture.
      It is important to get an X-ray, but it is tough to find anything but solar radiation in the South Pacific.
      Without an X-ray, I am at a loss to give anything other than the most over protective advice: people with this type of injury can have solely a heel bruise or can have a displaced calcaneus fracture requiring surgery. Let’s hope it’s the former. RICE when possible for the time being.

      Best of luck,

      Dr. Silverman

  8. Claire says

    Hi, I bruised my heel almost 5 months ago. It is better but hard to completely fix. When I rest it completely, it improves, but then I guess I start going for walks and it hurts more. So I’ve resigned myself to complete rest now. Podiatrist I saw 2 months ago just said ice, elevation, and it would be completely gone in 6 weeks. It’s longer than 6 weeks though, and I really want my heel bone bruise to away. Do you have any advice? Thank you very much.

  9. Claire H says

    Hi, I bruised my heel 5 months ago. 3 months ago the podiatrist did an x-ray, found nothing, and called it a bone bruise. He said ice, elevation, and it would be gone in 6 weeks. When it started getting better I started going for walks on it, which made it hurt more. So I have decided to mostly rest it with a little bit of walking.I don’t understand why it is taking so long. How much more healing time do you think I have before the heel bruise is gone? Thank you very much

    • says

      Heel bruises are trouble. It’s an area that once its damaged takes a long time to heal and every step we take reminds us about the injury.

      How the injury occurred, what other symptoms are present, and where and when it hurts are key to making the right diagnosis and then the right treatment.

      Some heel bruises are irreversible injuries. Some damage the muscles in the bottom of the foot and can be treated. Some damage the nerves on the bottom of the foot and can be treated. Some damage the plantar fascia and can be treated.

      What tissue or tissues were injured, I don’t know. I wish I could help you but, you need to find someone to examine the tissue to figure it out.

      Best of luck in your recovery, Claire. I hope it heals soon.

  10. Hilde says

    I have a high arch and am having tremendous pain on my left foot right side closest to the back of the arch. I wear wedge heels or heels and the pain is better but when I try to wear running shoes the pain gets worse. What is wrong? I have not seen a doctor yet. Should I buy wedge tennis shoes? Insert? I wear running shoes when I go to the gym and come out limping.

    • says

      Sorry to hear about your pain, Hilde. In patients with heel pain with activity, I recommended that they stop landing on the heel; consider changing to a barefoot style landing (even in shoes).
      Sometimes patients with this problem have an entrapped nerve (Baxter’s nerve). A cortisone injection that is placed near the nerve (not the plantar fascia) has very good results. Consider experimenting with a forefoot-striking running style and see if you notice less pain. I hope it works for you.

  11. crissy says

    I actually bruised my heel from a fall down the stairs I noticed that I had a bruise which really hurt but its hard for me to give my foot rest because I have a dance recital so I have to be rehearsing but I am now well aware of what can go wrong so thank you

  12. Sharky says

    Hi, I recently landed hard on my heel after the hop in triple jump and hurt my heel. After the first jump I had to pull out of the competition because I did not want to risk hurting it more. It was 2 days ago and it hurts to walk. How long do heel bruises take to completely heal? When can I start jumping/bounding training again?

  13. says

    I have a deep heel bruise, since the November 2013 Soccer Playoffs. The heel feels painful and I am afraid to officiate again thinking the Achilles will rupture; had that on the other foot and it was painful. I was just running along the touchline and a sudden pain on the right heel and still there. What is the best advise?

  14. Catherine B says

    Six months ago I was out drinking with friends and we were doing a lot of dancing. I was wearing ballet pumps so not much support. A guy also accidentally kicked me in the back of the heel when dancing. The next morning I couldn’t put weight on the heel it was very painful. After rest and wearing trainers to work it got a bit better and I could workout and wear different shoes. I would feel a twinge now and then but it wasn’t too bad. Sometimes I felt nothing.

    Two months or so ago I went to New York and was walking a fair but and the pain got really bad. I had to sit down all the time and developed Achilles tendinitis symptoms also.

    An X-Ray showed nothing but an MRI showed a stress reaction of some kind in the heel as well as Achilles tendinitis. But the ortho surgeon wasn’t 100% what was causing the heel pain. I’m in an airboot with crutches two weeks in. Taping the heel also reduces pain. The pain feels sharp when I press the centre of the heel or stand on it. I also get dull aches and tingling when resting.

    I’ve been told I have HYPERMOBILE ankles could this lead to my symptoms?

    After so long of not knowing I’m desperate for any advice.

    Many thanks


    • says


      In patients with a history like you describe, the treatment you have received sounds top notch. It is exactly what I would have done. If I had to guess this is what was happening to your foot from the scenario you described:

      A patient with pre-existing ankle instability gets a direct contusion to the calcaneus causing a stress reaction/incomplete fracture. In the ensuing few weeks the bone heals by decreasing activity, but the Achilles tendinitis and retro calcaneal bursitis develops as the muscles that had been stabilizing the ankle became weaker while compensating for the injury. The whole back of the ankle and heel get overloaded during the increase in activity (which occurs with every trip to NYC as walking is a way of life there). Swelling of the whole area then entraps the distal tarsal tunnel giving the sensation of pain in the medial calcaneal branch and along baxter’s nerve which explains the symptoms at rest.
      Yes, I have seen this pattern a few times prior.

      So, the boot is a great method to drop the swelling, but in patients with this presentation, obtaining stability and strength is a goal. After a few weeks in the boot I would give a tarsal tunnel injection to add to the overall decrease in inflammation. Then, I’d move to an ankle stabilizing brace such as a trilock foot brace in conjunction with aggressive strengthening and balance training in physical therapy. However, if I identified mechanical ankle instability on a clinical exam, I would recommend the patient consider ankle ligament reconstruction.

      This pattern is bound to repeat. Look at all basketball players with repeat ankle troubles. Even with their great trainers, they keep having ankle problems like this that put them out. They rehab only to recur their troubles.

      Hope that helps answer some of your questions. Best of luck in your recovery!

      • Catherine says

        Thank you so much for your reply.

        Would you suggest I avoid all strengthening exercises until im out the boot and feeling no pain in the heel?
        Once I do commence these exercises, I
        plan to do work with a theraband and wobble board work. Is this

        Could you advise how many weeks I should spend in the boot in your opinion before trying to walk on the heel?
        Finally, an additional symptom I have is a cracking sensation when bearing weight on the heal. Might this be a side effect of the inflammation? Im using ice
        and NSAIDs to reduce this but is there
        anything else I can do myself?

        Many thanks indeed for your time.


      • says

        In patients who describe the problems you are referring to:

        I only keep them immobilized enough for the acute inflammation to resolve (3-4 weeks). During that time, I transition them into physical therapy for strengthening.

        As far as crackling and popping sensations, if they don’t hurt, I don’t treat them, If they do, they are a sign of bursitis in most circumstances and benefit from a cortisone injection and strengthening in a stable position.

        Best wishes,
        Lance Silverman

  15. Catherine B says

    It’s also worth noting the MRI showed no plantar fasciitis. I had ultrasound and laser and massage for plantar f as that was the original diagnosis. Needless to say it didn’t help as seems it was an incorrect diagnosis.

  16. Ella says

    8months ago I failed during a lions chase obstacle race and bruised my heel really bad. I went to doctor had an X-ray and it’s not broke. He told me rest it and to alternate heat and ice for few day’s.I did it and it helped some, the swelling went down some but not completely .I also went to a chiropractor he X-ray and adjusted, felt a little better but my heel is still swollen after 8 months. What should I do?will it ever go back to normal?

    • anklefootmd says


      If you’re still dealing with pain and swelling eight months post injury, odds are you broke something that the X-ray didn’t catch the first time. I would have it looked at again by a doctor. Best of luck on your recovery.

      Dr. Silverman

  17. Ella says

    Thank you! Do you think that I should see a podiatrist or just my physician ? Will an X-Ray be enough of do I need an MRI ?

    • anklefootmd says


      An xray is usually good enough. A MRI may be ordered depending on the kind of heel pain, but you should see an Orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the ankle and foot. Please see the orthopedic difference at and do a Google search for a local orthopedic surgeon with Ankle and Foot specialty credentials in your area.

      Dr. Silverman

  18. says

    Hi ! I have pain in my Heel .Its not severe pain but I cannot Stand and Walk Properly and also I can’t put my weight on my injured Heel . I actually kicked the Bed with my Heel on the Sharp side and from then I have Pain . I hope and think it is not fractured . Kindly tell me about some cure of it ! I’ll be Very Thankful to you !
    Regards !

    • anklefootmd says


      You should see a doctor and get an X-ray. Fracture is a possibility. I hope the pain subsides.

      Dr. Silverman

      • says

        Sir the Pain is not very severe and Heel is also not fractured in X-ray . I can walk but I can’t put my bodyweight on the affected side of the foot. Actually I got injury on the curved side of the heel . I don’t feel pain when I’m sitting . It only pain when I put my bodyweight on that side . Kindly tell me a cure So i can play Football . :)
        THanks !

  19. says

    Sir the Pain is not very severe and Heel is also not fractured in X-ray . I can walk but I can’t put my bodyweight on the affected side of the foot. Actually I got injury on the curved side of the heel . I don’t feel pain when I’m sitting . It only pain when I put my bodyweight on that side . Kindly tell me a cure So i can play Football . :)
    THanks !

  20. says

    Sir ya Its Not fractured in X-ray .. Its just 3 DAys old and I am now feeling better. I mean it is healing .. But its not completely healed .I still get pain When i run and little pain when I stand .

  21. Suzanne Slayton says

    I have been diagnosed with a bruised heel following some issues with a neuroma while running. I’ve not run for almost 5 weeks now but have still been doing some cross training such as the elliptical and rowing machine. Still have lots of pain in heel. How long does it usually take to heal and I’m I continuing to injure by doing the cross training? My doctor did an x-ray and nothing was fractured. Hurts worse at the end of the day than in the morning so I feel that diagnosis is accurate. I wear a lot of sandals this time of the year and when I put on sneakers to do workout it hurts in those too. Just frustrated and not sure that I’m doing what’s best!

  22. Jane says

    My daughter hit a hurdle whilst training with the inside of her heel and fell to the ground. She rested the injury as much as she could for 2 days, has done non weight bearing exercises for 2 days (eg cycling) and I have been massaging the foot and applying arnica. She iced it at the start to stop any inflammation and is now using heat as well. Whilst the pain has subsided and she can walk, her foot still hurts on the inside, now running from the heel down under the arch. She cannot run without pain. She has a major competition (National Finals) coming up in 3 days and I am wondering if there is anything more she should be doing to give her a chance of being able to compete. Much appreciate any advice you can give her.

    • anklefootmd says

      It’s hard to know what area was injured. It is unlikely she caused major damage to herself striking the hurdle. If this was the inside of the heel that struck (the trailing leg), there are a lot of structures that could be affected from the calcaneus (bone contusion) to the tarsal tunnel (tendons and nerves). If the injury was before she left the ground it could have been something inside the foot that tore like the plantar fascia or another ligament If the injury was upon landing after striking the hurdle, who knows what could have been injured in the precarious hurdling position during a fall on the hurdle. I wish I could be of more help. Rest, Ice, Elevation and Ibuprofen are her best bets in the short term.

  23. Katelyn says

    So my fiance decided to jump from a one story roof, and hurt his heel. He said when he landed he locked his leg and all the force went directly on his right heel. Is this possibly a bruised heel? He was able to walk home, this morning it wad very hard to put any sort of pressure on and part of that foot. We are going to the local Dr today or tomorrow but wanted to know what to maybe expect!

    • anklefootmd says

      This could be a fractured calcaneus and he needs X-rays, or it could be a heel bruise. Either way this heel is going to hurt for some time after a fall/jump from a height.
      Best of luck, Katelyn.

  24. Lirik says

    i stepped on a tiny rock with my heel a couple weeks ago and i’ve been doing the RICE method. It’s been a couple weeks now and a callus formed in the heel area and whenever i put a bit of pressure on it, it gives off a quick and sharp pain. Any ideas on what i should do to treat it?

    • anklefootmd says

      This problem sounds like a seedcorn issue. Seed corns form when callous and dead skin get trapped under the layers of skin. If left untreated, the structure can become pebble-like and cause pain. It almost always resolves with a good pedicure or debridement of the Callus or removal of the seedcorn.

      Dr. Silverman

  25. Anne says

    Hello –
    I was hit by a motorbike while walking across the street in Bali, yesterday. No one was with my to tell me how I fell, but my right leg is all banged up. The inside of my left heel has throbbed since and I cannot bear any weight on it, without pain. It’s tender to the touch just on the inside, not on the outside. I spent about 3 hours walking today just using the ball of my foot on that side… is that bad?
    I don’t feel any heat, nor see any visual bruising, but just the slightest amount of swelling. I have been taking Ibprofen and trying to rest – but don’t have immediate access to ice.
    I’d prefer not to go in for an x-ray as it doesn’t sound fractured, right?
    Any advice or response will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

    • anklefootmd says

      The official medical advice is get an X-Ray to rule out the fracture. This kind of injury, a Medial Heel Contusion is rare; I have seen a small handful.

      People who get these injuries often report sensory changes on the bottom of the heel and possibly into the sole of the foot. They develop weakness of the foot muscles as they have a traumatically induced Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Unfortunately, most doctors don’t understand this condition, MRI is often negative as is Ultrasound. Electrodiagnostic testing is even less reliable. Clinical exam is the key.
      Treatment if there is no pain at rest is initially conservative; Protective Offloading, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Massage and range of motion exercises to release scar and nerve adhesions should start within 3-7 days.
      If no improvement and sensory changes are present after a few weeks a cortisone injection can be diagnostic and therapeutic. Finally, surgery may be indicated if cortisone in unsuccessful in permanent relief.

  26. Donna says

    I stepped on a stone with my heel while walking barefoot, landing with full force, 6-8 weeks ago. It was VERY sore for about a week. Now, it does not hurt all the time, but I still have pain frequently while walking. Do I need to have this looked at or will it eventually heal?

  27. Nancy Turner says

    Hi – I went down a water slide into 2 feet of water (obviously thought it was deeper). I was diagnosed with a fracture of a heel spur, which I didn’t know I even had, and a heel bruise. No MRI was done. I have been in walking boot for 8 weeks. They re-X-rayed and it showed the new bone growth around a the fracture and the dr said to come out of boot. I don’t necessarily have pain when I walk, but I do have very strong tingling/shooting sensations any time I put weight on my heel. The doctor said that it would probably go away, but I am concerned and I am wondering if I should get a 2nd opinion. He is at HSS, which is supposed to be top notch. Can nerves regenerate? How long does it take? Thank you.

  28. Lynn says

    Hi! No heel pain, but pain under the balls of both feet due to wearing comfy sneakers that offer no support and with such thin soles that I feel every pebble I walk on. I recently began speed-walking 3 miles every other day & now 3 months later I have this bruised feeling, I believe from the thin soles and the fact that I come down pretty hard on my feet during this fast walking. I’m on sand, pebbles, gravel, concrete & crushed shells. I bought some good sneakers today at a sneaker speciality store & got on a foot machine that told them which orthotics to use. I bought the orthotics as they felt much better than the drugstore-bought gel inserts I tried a few days ago. I have not walked in 4 days & really miss it but I know that I must wait until this bruising pain goes away, right? Is heat the best thing to do while resting my feet, to increase blood to the feet? Or is ice the way to go. There seems to be some controversy about this.Tks! p.s. besides bruising pain under balls of feet when walking, if I lift my big toes up, that causes same pain.

    • anklefootmd says


      People who report bruising type pain often have what is known as a “metatarsalagia.” This actually just means pain under the metatarsal head. It refers to a number of pathologies.

      I am an editor of a well respected foot education site called, and have written about metatarsalgia on there. Check out this page for more information.


      Dr. Silverman

  29. Kelly says

    I’m having heel pain on the inner side. I completed a Spartan Race over the weekend and it has been bothering me ever since. Weight bearing is rough. And being on it for long periods of time makes it throb. Went to an urgent care clinic, they took X-Rays, said it was probably nothing, just a contusion, so stay off it for 24-hours and it should be fine. I did that and it is still bothering me. Any suggestions?

    • anklefootmd says


      Have seen the conditions you describe be nothing, and I have seen them be symptoms of a bad/painful condition. Unfortunately I am unfit to diagnose without seeing an X-Ray or MRI. I would suggest you go to an orthopedic surgeon if symptoms return. They will be able to better diagnose a condition if it’s anything more than just a bruise. Congrats on the Spartan Race. Best of luck on the recovery. Dr. Silverman.

  30. mary gordon says

    I jumped down about 5feet onto leveled concrete and
    it felt like I landed straight down but it happened fast. It has been 6 days and people say it looks swollen still and I have brusing around the sides and back of the heel but some of the bruising runs along my skin lines . Is this normal…the brusing in lines and not circular type patterns? Thank you for your time

    • anklefootmd says

      It could simply be bruising, or it could be a sign of a bigger issue. An x-ray and doctor visit would be the best course of action.

  31. Gunnar says

    Recently I jumped from an 8 foot wall and landed on my feet and could hardly walk for the next couple days. I went to the doctors and they told me my heels were severely bruised but nothing was broken. I got a pair of crutches to use. This was a little over a week ago and about 4 days ago I noticed bruises forming in the arch of my foot, which was strange. I have been able to walk better each day and put more weight on my feet. The pain is centered around the sides of my heel, like where the ankle is. I don’t experience pain when putting pressure directly on the pad of my heel. But I was reading how bruising on the arch of the foot can be sign of Plantar Fascia, but I experience no pain when I go up on my toes, I only have pain on the sides of my heels. I don’t want to go into the doctors again, for I think they will just try to put my feet into casts and I don’t want that. I am just curious if you have any experience seeing cases like this. Where someone with bruised heels ends up with bruises on the bottoms of their feet. I don’t know if it could be due to how I walk with the crutches or something of the like. Any information of cases you have seen would be most helpful. Thank you!

    • anklefootmd says


      It’s hard to know what could be injured. Bruising of the arch can be serious if accompanied by arch pain and is a sign of a potential Lis Franc injury. It doesn’t seem to fit this circumstance; some other structure that has bled along the tissue planes into the arch is likely responsible.

      Best wishes,
      Dr. Silverman

  32. Sonja Johnson says

    My daughter who is a college student fell down some stairs at school. She does not remember much about the fall but she does remember that she hit her left foot on the stairs. She went to the emergency room wherein she told them the bottom of her heel hurts along with her ankle and calf. They took x-rays of her ankle and told her it was sprained and that she needed to stay off it for a couple of days. After about 5 days she still could not put any wieght on her foot without being in great pain so I took her to urgent care. Again she complained about pain in her heel and the back of her calf. They took more x-rays of her ankle then refered to sports medicine. She went to that doctor with the same complaint. He took x-rays of her leg and told her that she also had a strained calf. She was to stay off it for another week then go to physical therapy for 2 weeks. It has been almost 3 weeks since her accident and she still cannot put any wieght on the heel of that foot without great pain. (She walks on the ball of her foot with crutches.) She also complains about pain and discomfort in that heel even when she is not on it. She talked to her doctor about the pain, he told her to go to physical therapy a few times and if the pain does not get better he will address it. I am at a lost of what to do. Everyone seems to ignore her heel pain. Any suggestions at what we should do next?

    • anklefootmd says


      Injuries that preclude weight bearing that have negative X-rays and don’t rapidly improve need further investigation. MRI, bone scan or just a better foot and ankle dedicated physical exam is necessary to uncover the true nature of the problem. I wish the best for your daughter.

      Dr. Silverman

  33. Julie says

    Hi, I have been experiencing pain on my right heel and foot for about 8 weeks. There is a focal point in the centre of my heel and the pain radiates through my soul, up the right side of my foot at the rear. I have had physio for plantar fasciitis for 6 weeks and have been wearing flat shoes with built in orthotics for 3 weeks. I have also been taking neurofen. I’m continuing to experience extreme discomfort and I am unable to weight bear completely without significant pain. I am beginning to think I have been misdiagnosed. I did not have any traumatic injury but did wear high heels all the time prior to this. What would you recommend as the next step? Thanks

    • anklefootmd says


      Plantar fasciitis tends to hurt more towards the inside of the foot. People who report pain on the outside of the heel have something else going on. That may be pain because of abnormal weight bearing because of the plantar fasciitis or it may something else.

      Sometimes people who are in “extreme discomfort” do best with a walking cast boot to calm things down. I’d also recommend an exam by a foot specialist.

      Best of luck in your recovery.

  34. João Pinto says

    3 weeks ago i was playing football and had to make a hard stop and hit my left foot on the ground
    My heel was a little hurt, but i kept playing
    I had some pain for about 1/2 a day and it passed

    I experience no pain whatsoever walking, i can stand with only my left foot on the ground without no pain in the heel area
    But the inner part of the hell is a tiny bit swollen, and hurts if i press it a little harder
    I kept training for the past 3 weeks, i have no pain while running, i only have pain if i land on my heel hard enough, and it hurts for about 2-3 minutes after the impact

    Today i went to a physiotherapist and he gave a hard massage and it hurt like hell
    I also used a syringe to see if i had liquid around the area, nothing came out until he squeezed the area and some bloodish liquid came out.

    What should i do? I don’t know if i have a fracture, and i’m really scared of having one

  35. Kathy Albright says

    I had went out in my slippers that aren’t made for outside and after stepping on a rock that caused great pain I had to make it back to the house walking on rocks. It’s been 3 days there is no bruising but pain,I can’t put weight on it it’s top of heel and arch,putting ice on it causes pain and even sitting with foot down hurts. Any advice?

    • anklefootmd says


      A stone bruise is a painful injury. Generally, people improve over time with rest like any other bruise. Bruises don’t heal when you continue to contuse the tissue. For example, football players have delayed healing from thigh contusions. However, it’s hard to walk when the bottom of the foot when it is bruised. At Silverman Ankle and Foot, we provide crutches and rolling scooters for such an injury and keep patients from weight-bearing on the limb for 2-3 weeks. Best of luck in your recovery.

  36. Dave says

    3 days ago i was walking down the steps and thought i was at the bottom but had one more step to go and my heel came down very hard on one of my dogs toys. i felt an intense burning/stabbing pain that faded after a few minutes. didnt think anything of it and went to work where i’m walking on concrete for 5 hours and the pain got increasingly worse as the day went on starting in my heel and going up my calf and towards the ball of my foot, to the point i couldn’t put any pressure on it and a bruise developed directly below my ankle. there is little to no pain in my ankle while at rest or going through full range of motion stretching. i can even press down with my fingertips on the sides and the entire bottom of the heel pad and it only hurts when i press down very hard and then not that much. and when it does hurt a little bit its only when i stretch my achilles tendon. any advice?

    • anklefootmd says


      It sounds like you suffered an injury similar to Kathy’s injury. Here’s what I told her – A heel bruise is a painful injury. Generally, people improve over time with rest like any other bruise, but bruises don’t heal when you continue to contuse the tissue. For example, football players have delayed healing from thigh contusions. However, it’s hard to walk when the bottom of the foot when it is bruised. At Silverman Ankle and Foot, we provide crutches and rolling scooters for such an injury and keep patients from bearing weight on the limb for 2-3 weeks. I hope your foot heals soon.

  37. says

    I wore boots with heels for about an hour the other night. The next day my heel was sore. Two days later I went shopping wearing atletic shoes. On returning home I have bruising on the sides and top of my foot and swelling. I also have neuropathy in my feet and experience severe pain on the balls of them just don’t need more. What is wrong and what can I do?

    • anklefootmd says


      When it comes to neuropathy, many problems can develop. Stress fractures, midfoot ligament sprains and tendon ruptures are all possible, and symptoms are surprisingly mild. Patients with neuropathy and foot swelling need to see an orthopaedic surgeon, especially after innocuous trauma. Hoping for a speed recovery.

      Dr. Silverman

  38. Marci Fish says

    I have Right medial calcaneus pain for one week. X-rays on day two reveal no calcaneus fracture. Pain is a constant ache with very frequent burning pain located deep between medial maleous and heel. No pain in the bottom of the heel and no pain in any arches. Active and passive motion causes no extreme pain. The Achilles and calf are tight from limping on it for about five days. By the way cause of injury was kicking a door closed with bottom of foot to get it to latch. Burning pain is worse at rest and when I have no shoes on. Burning pain subsides and goes to an ache when I am weight bearing. Two nights ago I woke with very intense burning pain (felt like a hot poker) in medial cAlcaeus. Enough pain to put me in tears. I was on my feet 12 hours that day. Yesterday I stayed off it and used crutches to get around if I had to. I’m treating at home with ibruprofen 400 mg 3/day, supplements, RICE, and essential oils. My own education and research tells me heel fat pad contusion, bruised bone, and inflammation. Your input would be much appreciated as I reluctantly take one more day to RICE.

  39. Cathy says

    I stepped on a broken piece of candy cane right in the center of my heel and it is still killing me, it hurts to walk and in my profession i am on my feet all day, I feel like I must of done some damage because it seems to be getting more painful, I should probably get it checked out.

    • anklefootmd says


      If you’re constantly on your feet, and you believe you should have your heel examined, that’s probably the best course of action. Best of luck.

      Dr. Silverman

  40. Terri Houdek says

    I am more of a walker than a runner but decided to start doing a bit of running on t treadmill. Jogged / walked for two days for about twelve total minutes of running each day. Pretty inconsequential I thought. The outer back corner of my heel is now sore and has been tender for going on three months. I can’t imagine this could be a fracture or break with such a wimpy trauma. I hate to pay a dr bill to be told it is a bruise stay off of it. I try to rest it … Use heel cushioning… Hobble. What should I do? Thanks…

    • anklefootmd says


      Heel bruising from an increase in activity is common. Sometimes it caused by an increase in activity only, sometimes by technical errors in running/jogging and sometime from other biomechanical problems. After extended periods of rest, a physical therapist who can evaluate one’s running stride can diagnose technical problems while biomechanical problems are often only evident by a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon.


      Dr. Silverman

  41. Barbara Heins says

    While caring post-op for my big toe which has been fused for the second time in 5 months I was walking in an iWalk 2.0 knee crutch and as I was trying to stand up from an electric cart the ‘foot’ of the knee crutch suddenly & ‘violently’ (sorry for the dramatics) forward and the heel of my recovering foot slammed down really hard on a hard tile floor causing immediate pain and I haven’t been able to put ANY weight on it since then and this was 12 days ago. Even when not on it, while laying down, intense, severe pain occurs with a lightning onset…without warning my heel has pain that’s a 10 out of 10 pain-wise. This intense intermittant pain is disrupting my sleep all through the night…I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since this happened. At my first post-op visit for my 1st metatarsal fusion I explained what happened and asked them to exray my heel. I have to add that bone was taken from this heel during both surgeries. They said that the exray was negative for a fracture. Two days after that visit I called begging for an MRI but it wasn’t ordered until yesterday (5 more days later) and so I had the MRI last night but haven’t gotten any result yet. I have been non-weight bearing since the surgery on Feb 3rd and while the surgery is healing extremely well…my heel is so painful I can’t put ANY pressure on it AT ALL…a few times I’ve fallen in the knee crutch and experienced SEVERE pain as it hit the ground again but not nearly has hard of an impact as the initial impact.
    I get the feeling that my Doc is getting tired of working with me ( after the first revision on 9/30 my foot became infected and I had to be hospitalized for a week followed by 2 & a half weeks in a rehab to get IV antibiotics (vanco) and then about 3 weeks after the infection resolved I had a sudden unexplained increase in pain & exrays revealed the pin he had just put in my toe had broken and had to be replaced. So it was redone 2/3 and was healing really well when I injured my heel. They aren’t returning phone calls like they used to and I had to fight to get an MRI of my heel. So, this whole thing is a bit of a struggle. To complicate things even more – while in rehab for my foot I tore one of my rotator cuffs and using crutches which is why I’m using the very unsteady knee crutch. God forbid – but does this kind of severe (my perception I know) injury ever require surgery to heal? It seems to be getting worse every day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *