Athletes are most susceptible to bruised heel injuries, though anyone can endure such an injury as the result of a fall, a hard impact, and so on. Bruised heel injuries may refer to impacted soft tissue or impacted bones, and the treatment may vary according to the severity of the injury. The most basic treatment of this type of injury involves using the RICE method; RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. More severe bruises may require attention from a doctor who can prescribe medication to alleviate pain and help reduce swelling.
Most of these injuries can be treated with the RICE treatment. Resting the injury allows the soft tissue or bone to heal on its own, and icing the injury helps keep painful swelling to a minimum. Compression and elevation both encourage blood flow to the injured area, which in turn promotes faster healing times. If the RICE treatment is not sufficient to treat the heel, it may be wise to visit a doctor, as a more serious condition may be occurring. A bone fracture, for example, may cause pain in the heel, and while some fractures can also be treated with the RICE treatment, more severe fractures will require more intensive treatments.
Some people cannot stay off their feet long enough to allow the bruised heel to heal on its own, so orthotics may be necessary. Orthotics are devices that help restrict movement, support or cushion the affected area, and otherwise encourage healing by taking some of the stress off the heel. Ideally, orthotics as a treatment will be combined with the RICE treatment whenever possible to promote faster healing and to prevent further injury to the heel.
Sometimes a heel injury is due to repetitive movements or daily habits that are adversely affecting the health of the foot. It may be necessary for you to examine daily routines to find out if any of those routines are causing the bruising. This is a good step to take if you experience a chronically bruised heel, or if the bruising occurs more than once. Sometimes inadequate footwear can cause heel bruising, and simply wearing new, more supportive footwear can correct the problem. In other cases, your walking gait can lead to bruising, at which point you may want to consider visiting a doctor or other professional who can give you orthotics that can help correct your walking gait.