A bruise is a very common injury experienced by most individuals. Heel and Bone bruises are one of the types of bruises which are often experienced in day to day life.

Individuals suffering from these issues should take a note of the following symptoms, remedies and the care that needs to be taken post injury.

Clinically, a bruise is defined as an injury which appears as an area of skin that appears bluish black on the human body. This is mainly caused by a hard blow or a heavy impact of something on the body.

Bruises lead to breakage and rupturing of the underlying blood vessels. It is a clinical condition in which the capillaries and rarely the venules are damaged.

This leads to the leakage of blood, which further leads to hemorrhage and spreading into the surrounding tissue. Bruises are very common and are often experienced by almost all the humans Let us now look at the bruises of the heel and bone in detail.

Heel Bruise

Heel Bruise
Heel Bruise

The portion of the human body that lies at the bottom-rear part of the foot is called as the heel. Its exterior shape is formed by the calcaneus.

This part is commonly known as the heel bone. The heel bone is the largest bone of the human foot. The heel is an important part of the foot.

The foot performs the following major functions

  • Balancing the body weight and transmitting it to the ground surface.
  • Maintaining the body posture.
  • Assists ambulation which includes activities like walking, jogging, jumping and hopping.

Most of the body weight is taken up by the heel region. The body weight is transmitted predominantly via the heel to the ground while performing activities like walking and running. Thus, the heel plays a vital role in many days to day activities.

Hence, it is important to take proper care of the heel.

A phenomenon in which the underlying tissue of the heel is damaged due to certain activity is called as a bruised heel. This is also known Policeman’s Heel disorder. It is basically a contusion or bruising to the tissues under the heel which causes pain.

People participating in various sports activities, performing tasks involving a lot of footwork, dancers and technicians are at a high risk of suffering from heel bruises. These group of individuals can place their foot at risk for a number of injuries.

The calcaneus is the largest bone in the foot. Due to its shape and size, it has an important function in the body. Calcaneus is considered to be the primary weight bearing bone. However, in the case of a heel bruise, the calcaneus can be subjected injury.

The severity and the effects of calcaneus injury can affect the normal movement of the foot. According to medical science, ankle sprains are considered to be the most common ankle or foot injury. However, a heel bruise can be quite debilitating.

A heel bruise can be a painful injury and can be the result of either one acute injury or from repetitive impact on the foot. Although moderate injuries can result in a contusion to the fat pad surrounding the calcaneus or a deep bone bruise, repetitive injuries can result in a calcaneal stress fracture.

Types Of Heel Injury

A heel injury may include a range of injuries. This can be classified as follows:-

  • Mild, which consists of a minor bruise.
  • Moderate, which consists of either a stress fracture or a bone bruise
  • Severe, which consists of fracture of the calcaneus.

The severity of the heel injury depends on the amount of force placed on the calcaneus while the person was performing a certain task. An injury resulting in a heel bruise may result into swelling, which may be present in and around the heel.

In such cases, the area around the heel becomes soft and tender because of the pressure. Injury and damage to the heel pad may also result in its displacement.

The displacement can be laterally and medially (to either side). This often results in a flat spot under the calcaneus in comparison with the uninjured foot.

If the injured person continues to work and carry out his routine work on a bruised heel, the injury might develop into chronic inflammation and swelling of the periosteum.

The periosteum is a medical term referring to the outside perimeter of the bone. This will for sure increase the severity of the pain and result in a much more debilitating injury.

Symptoms of Bruised Heel

Symptoms of Bruised Heel

The major symptoms include a gradual pain under the heel bone which might worsen later on. In some cases, the pain might be experienced in certain activities like jumping and running. Initially, the symptoms might be mild but may be severe in the long run.Walking will be uncomfortable or painful.

You can determine if the pain that you feel while walking is a bruised heel or not by using a simple physical examination of the foot. The method is as follows:-

You should take the painful foot in your hands and press gently in the middle of the heel with the pads of the thumbs. Increase the pressure steadily until you feel the pain. If the pain is sharp, intense and decreases when pressure over the heel is released, then it is probably a bruised heel.

Causes of Bruised Heel

A bruised heel is usually caused by overuse of the heel tissue. It is a direct cause of activities like long distance running, repetitive bounding or landing heavily on the heel. The heel bone, also known as the calcaneus bone is protected by a pad of fatty tissue.

Overuse of the heel can damage the layer of fatty tissue. It mainly causes the fat pad to flatten and it gets displaced to the side of the heel. This leaves a thinner protective layer that might result in bruising of the bone and ultimately causes pain. The people who normally experience this condition include:-

  1. Athletes
  2. Policemen
  3. Teachers
  4. Soldiers

These people make heavy use of their heel tissue in activities like standing for long durations, running, jumping.

Some Preventing Tips

It is often advisable to regularly monitor the heel region of the foot. In case there are any symptoms it is better to visit a specialist. The famous verse, “Prevention is better than cure” is applicable to the heel bruise as well.

How To Treat Bruised Heel

How To Treat Bruised Heel
How To Treat Bruised Heel

If you diagnose the heel pain at an early stage, then some preventive measures can be applied. This mainly includes rest. If the heel is given proper rest, then it should recover quite quickly within a few days.

If the first onset of heel pain or irritation is ignored, then some professional treatment might be needed. In these cases, the fat padding gets damaged beyond easy repair.

1. Rest

Rest should be given to the heel until there is no more pain. This is the most important factor of treatment. Continuing regular activities like walking or running will hamper the injured foot. It will then delay the healing process.

2. Professional Treatment

This treatment involves the use of means like gait analysis and screening. Depending on the intensity of the pain, the doctors might prescribe X-ray or MRI. In order to protect the fat pad in the heel and correct any biomechanical problems of the foot, the doctors can advise the use of insoles, heel pads or orthotics. Tapping the heel is a frequently used remedy to protect the heel padding.

3. Ice

Applying ice to the affected region is the first thing the injured person should do to minimize the local swelling. Ice has the power to provide coolness to the damaged organs.

Bone Bruise

Bones are a part of human body that is composed of a network of fibers. These fibers facilitate to retain the calcium content in the bones.

Calcium is a vital mineral in the body that plays an important role in keeping the bones healthy and strong. Whenever a bone is damaged, these tiny fibers can break apart.

The number of the fibers broken determines the severity of the bone bruise. If the entire network of fibers in a bone is damaged, then it results in a deep bone bruise.

This condition, which is clinically also called as the periosteal bruise, occurs when the outer layer of a bone consists of small breaks following an injury or trauma. This outer layer of bone is clinically termed as Cortex.

A View On Bone Bruise Causes

Typically, a bruise occurs when blood vessels are damaged below the surface of the skin. These blood vessels then collect towards the surface of the skin and become visible in the form of black and blue marks.

A bone bruise happens when some of the fibrous tissues inside the bone are damaged due to certain activities. These tissues are also known as trabeculae. In the case of a bone fracture, all the trabeculae are damaged. Thus, a bone bruise can be considered as a step before a breakage and can often lead to a bone fracture.

The causes of bone bruises might be any activity which leads to straining of the trabeculae. The symptoms range from mild pain to restrictions in bone movement. The treatment varies depending on the severity of the bruise.

Just as the case of heel bruise, bone bruises might recover by resting in the case of an early detection. There might be a need to visit the physicians in case the damage is more.

Symptoms Of Bone Bruise

1. Pain

The most common and highly observed symptom of a deep bone bruise is the pain. This pain ranges from mild to severe, depending on the intensity of the injury. In some scenarios, the pain is seen localized to the injured region, while in some cases the pain is felt around the injured region.

Unlike superficial skin bruises, deep bone bruises can cause symptoms of severe pain. The pain experienced in the case of a deep bone bruise may be from a couple of days to few weeks and in some exceptional cases for up to several months. These painful symptoms can make it difficult and sometimes impossible for the patients to use the damaged body parts.

Patients will then need to avoid strenuous physical activities and follow the instructions as specified by a doctor. In certain cases, the patients might be advised to take complete bed rest. Along with rest, some oral tablets might be advised by the physicians. Local ointments and pain killing body locations might be prescribed by the doctors. It will a significant time to allow the deep bone bruise to heal completely.

Local ointments and pain killing body locations might be prescribed by the doctors. It will a significant time to allow the deep bone bruise to heal completely.

Along with rest, some oral tablets might be advised by the physicians. Local ointments and pain killing body locations might be prescribed by the doctors. It will a significant time to allow the deep bone bruise to heal completely.

It is advised that severe pain symptoms should not be ignored by the affected individuals. In the case of severe damage to the bone, the affected patients should contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

2. Swelling

When a bone is bruised during injury, the muscles, fibers, blood vessels and tissues that surround the affected bone are often also damaged. In some cases, these organs are completely broken.

Tissue damage caused by a deep bone bruise can lead to extensive swelling. The severity of the swelling can range from mild to severe. The skin around the injured bone can appear enlarged, swollen or puffy and may be tender to the touch.

In severe cases, the area surrounding the injury might become numb and senseless. Blood can accumulate beneath the skin. Accumulation of blood may exacerbate symptoms of swelling in certain patients with a deep bone bruise. Symptoms of swelling can persist for several weeks. Swelling may be alleviated and reduced by applying an ice pack to the affected body region.

3. Skin Discoloration

This is a very common and most frequently observed symptom of the bone bruise. Patients who suffer from a bone bruise may develop minor to major skin discoloration as a symptom of this injury.

In the initial stage, the skin around and at the site of injury can appear red or inflamed. The redness and inflammation can vary from person to person.  Within a day or two of injury, the damaged skin changes to some other shade.

In most cases, it may appear unusually blue or purple. This color change is due to accumulation of pooled blood beneath the skin. As the deep bone bruise begins to heal there is again a color change in the damaged part. The injured skin can appear green or yellow in color during the healing phase. These skin discoloration symptoms of a deep bone bruise are mostly temporary.

However, in many cases, they can persist for several weeks or months. When the deep bone bruise heals completely, the skin of the injured area will regain its normal coloring. The normal skin color is an indication of the fact that the bone bruise has healed now.

Natural Remedies For Heel And Bone Bruises

Natural Remedies For Heel And Bone Bruises

Natural Remedies For Heel And Bone Bruises

1. Ice

Applying ice to the bruise is one the best ways to relieve the pain naturally. The cold temperature has a numbing effect that caters to and controls pain and inflammation.

2. Massage

Massage is another simple, natural treatment for bruise injury. However, it is not a long-term treatment option. Massaging the injured region provides quick relief from pain. Massaging facilitates in relaxing the muscles, releasing the pressure, reducing the stiffness and improving blood circulation in the injured region.

3. Stretching

In many bruise injuries, stretching exercises can help reduce the pain. It further adds in promoting quick recovery. Stretching exercise also provides strength to the muscles and tendons.Thus, stretching helps to prevent the further pain.

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