Bruised Heel

The calcaneus is the bone found in your heel. It is surrounded by tissue and sits just above your heel pad, which is a pad made of fat. This tissue protects the heel bone as it is remarkably fragile, considering how vital it is in many day-to-day activities. The tissue around this bone can become damaged, often as the result of a sporting injury. When it becomes damaged it is known as a bruised heel or policeman’s heel.

Symptoms


Knowing what symptoms to look out for can help assist your recovery and help speed up the process until your heel has completely healed. The earlier you catch it, the sooner it will get better because you can reduce the amount of strain you are putting on it.

The most obvious symptom of a bruised heel is a pain under the heel bone. This usually comes on gradually and you will notice that walking will be far more painful than usual. Sometimes this pain can happen instantly, if you fall or jump onto your heels from a height, for example. Some people put up with these symptoms for a while before it becomes too bad.

Another way you may notice a bruised heel is that pain is caused by pressing directly onto the heel. If the bruised heel is quite bad then pressing onto the heel can cause intense pain. The pain will often be worse the more pressure that the heel has been put under, for example, if you have been walking all day.

Causes


Sports Injury

Because most, if not all sports, involve the bottom of the foot having a lot of impact onto hard ground like football pitches or running tracks. This repeated weight of the body directly onto the ground can cause a bruised heel. Sporting activities like hurdles or long jumps can cause a bruised heel because of the high impact repeatedly.

Walking

A lot of walking can cause a bruised heel much in the same way that sports can. Walking for extended periods of time is the reason that a bruised heel is also known as a policeman’s heel because the amount of walking that police officers on the beat had to do would result in damage to the heel bone. It is also found in soldiers, or any occupations which require a lot of walking.

Carrying heavy loads

Carrying heavy items can cause more pressure to be put on the heel, resulting in a bruised heel. Jobs which require a lot of heavy lifting will lead to bruised heels because of the constant extra weight that you are carrying.

Excessive Weight

In the same way as carrying extra weight for a job can cause a bruised heel, being overweight can cause it because you are constantly carrying around more weight than your heel can cope with. This pressure on the heel will eventually lead to bruised heels. The best way to avoid this is to make sure you are maintaining a healthy weight.

Footwear

Ill-fitting or bad footwear is never a good idea if you want to avoid problems with your feet. If your shoes aren’t supporting or protecting your heels properly then this can lead to bruised heels. Having supportive footwear is the best way to avoid bruised heels.

Prevention


Understanding how a bruised heel happens is the first place to start when looking to prevent it. Obviously, we aren’t going to tell you to stop working your manual job or stop playing sports that you love but there are steps you can take which can reduce your risk of this happening.

If you are a keen runner, athlete or sportsman, investing in some shoes that have good shock absorption should be a priority. Having a good cushion for the soles of your feet will greatly reduce your risk of ending up with bruised heels. Make sure you are replacing your shoes regularly too, as excessive use will wear the sole away and reduce the effectiveness.

If you are a keen runner, athlete or sportsman, investing in some shoes that have good shock absorption should be a priority. Having a good cushion for the soles of your feet will greatly reduce your risk of ending up with bruised heels. Make sure you are replacing your shoes regularly too, as excessive use will wear the sole away and reduce the effectiveness.

Making sure you are wearing good footwear is ultimately the best prevention for bruised heels, whether you are a sporting enthusiast, work in a manual job or do a lot of walking. If you are overweight and you suffer from bruised heels then the best way to relieve this is by losing weight. This will help with the pressure that you are putting on your heels as well as many other ailments.

Treatments


The treatments for bruised heels are to reduce the pain and swelling and prevent the heel from becoming injured further. There is a simple principle that you can follow, without needing to seek professional help. PRICE is a useful acronym to remember – Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Following this principle will help to treat the heel without medical assistance.

Icing the area with an ice bag or in a cold water bath is the best way to do this, and it should be iced every two hours for twenty minutes at a time. You should not walk on the heel until the pain has subsided when there is pressure applied to it. If necessary, you should use crutches to reduce the amount of impact between the heel and the ground. Try not to bear any weight on it during the first two days, as this is the crucial time of healing.

Recovery Time:

  • A bruised heel usually take 1-3 weeks to fully recover. However, if the heel isn’t treated this can become longer.
  • If the bone becomes bruised it can take up to six weeks to properly heal.
  • If the pain is still severe after a few days, consider medical attention.
  • It is possible to reduce the recovery time if you follow PRICE.

One of the most important things to remember is that you shouldn’t try and push through the pain. Using the foot as normal during this time will only result in further injury and can cause far more serious injuries to the foot tissue and bones.

When the pain has been reduced to a point where pressure can be put on the heel, normal activities may be resumed, with appropriate protection such as a heel cup or protective doughnut which distributes the weight more evenly over the bottom of the foot.

 

 

 

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