Bruised Heels and How We Treat Them with Orthotics
What is a bruised heel?
Before committing to a treatment plan, it is first important to determine whether you actually have a bruised heel. This is a condition in which injury has occurred to your heel, the fat pad that protects the heel bone, or the back part of your foot. It is also referred to by some as a fat pad contusion. Some common signs and symptoms of a damaged heel include:
- Heel pain that is worse when weight is placed on the heel
- Swelling or redness at the heel
- A heel that feels warm to the touch
How could I have injured my heel?
There is a range of different things that can cause heel injury, some of which include:
- Jumping from a tall height
- Activities that involve frequent jumping and repetitive landing on the heel (e.g. running, basketball, volleyball, walking for long distances)
- Standing on an object or hard surface that induces injury to the heel or fat pad
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes that place undue strain on the heel
If you do not recall engaging in any of the above, then it is more likely that your foot pain is due to another condition, such as plantar fasciitis.
How do I treat a bruised heel?
Once you or a medical professional has arrived at the diagnosis of a bruised heel, there are 3 initial steps you should take:
- Ice the heel to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Take a pain reliever (e.g. Nurofen) to minimize discomfort
- Use a cushioning insole in your shoes
The above steps, combined with additional treatment options, will help get you on your way to being pain-free again.
Choosing an orthotic insole for a bruised heel
The heel is an area that is quite prone to get irritated because it is a weight-bearing part of the foot. When walking or running, many individuals tend to strike the ground first with their heel which can bring about injuries to tissues and muscles. An orthotic insole can redistribute pressure, correct misalignments, as well as prevent excessive rolling of the foot and ankle. There are a few key factors you should pay attention to when searching for an insole:
An appropriate amount of arch support
If you have feet that overpronate (roll inwards excessively), this is an extremely important consideration. Feet that roll inwards too much experience a significant amount of stress-strain on ligaments and muscles that are trying to keep the foot in a neutral position. Collapsed arches also place the foot at a higher risk of injury.
A deep-heel cup
A deeply set cup helps redistribute the pressure along the bottom of your foot so that it is not as concentrated on your heel. It will also position the foot such that the heel pad lies directly below the heel bone. This allows your heel to rest and promote healing and repair.
Targeted heel cushioning
There are orthotics available that have specialized cushioning in at-risk areas like the heel. The materials used to make these portions are usually softer and more shock-absorbent.
Need some more advice?
If you have some more questions on how to reduce foot pain, a bruised heel, or other conditions such as plantar fasciitis, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to us at docpods.com/au. We have a panel of experts with extensive knowledge of foot health, sports-related injuries, and identifying the cause of heel pain.