Having Heel Pain?

Heel Pain:  The “Stone Bruise”

As spring arrives and the weather starts to warm and brighten, many can’t wait to get back outdoors.  Whether it’s running, walking, or hiking, the South starts to awaken from the cabin fever of the winter. Unfortunately, with this return to activity, comes a return to some old aches and pains.  One of those is the “stone bruise”.

What is it?

A “stone bruise” or heel contusion often occurs when you take a step down on a rock or other pointed object – as the name “stone bruise” implies. Pain can be felt right away or over the following two days. The pain is usually felt on the back outside corner of the heel.  Pain is elicited when palpated and feels like a deep bruise to the pad of the heel.  Cross-country runners and hikers often run into this while out on the many trails located around Georgia.  Also, long distance runners may create this situation by not replacing their running shoes often enough.  A good rule of thumb is that running shoes should be replaced every 300-400 miles in order to maintain enough cushion and heel support to reduce the impact when the heel hits the ground.  Over the past few years there has been a growing movement towards barefoot running and “barefoot sport shoes” which allow the foot to move more freely and naturally.  However, with that increased freedom, comes a decrease in support and shock absorption leading to an increased rate of heel contusions.

What is the treatment?

  • PRICE – “Protection -Rest – Ice – Compression (or support) – Elevation”

Protection – A “Heel Cup” or “donut padding” will support the area and reduce the pressure placed directly on the surface of the contusion.

Rest – Not many athletes like to hear this word but by decreasing the volume and stress to the area, you will provide a better environment for healing

Ice – Ice Massage or Contrast Bath to the foot and heel are effective ways to reduce secondary swelling and to stimulate the healing response.

Compression – This can be accomplished by wearing a pair of shoes with good heel support.  Stay away from sandals and flip flops until healed.

Elevation – When you can, elevate the foot to reduce selling and to aid in the recovery.

If you would like to discuss this further or if you have heel pain or any other type of orthopedic or sports-related injury, call our office today and ask to speak to one of our sports medicine professionals at 770-237-3475.