What Is a Stone Bruise?

July 26, 2023 2:24 pm Published by

Summertime is the perfect opportunity to ditch the shoes and enjoy the outdoors. While freedom for your feet seems like a great idea, there are certain risks to leaving your shoes behind. Below, we’ll discuss what a stone bruise is, treatment options, and how to prevent them in the first place.

What Is a Stone Bruise?

A stone bruise occurs when the bottom of your foot is exposed to a hard or uneven surface — such as a stone walkway — and the bones in your heel become inflamed due to too much pressure. This is just one foot problem that occurs when you aren’t wearing shoes.

Common Summer Foot Problem Names

What other summer foot problems are there? Here is a short list:

Beach feet: When hot sand comes in contact with your feet and causes thermal damage, such as when walking on the beach.

Disney rash: When strenuous exercise or long walking in warm and humid weather causes inflammation and redness of exposed skin.

Plantar fasciitis: When the band of tissue (plantar fascia) from your heel to the ball of your foot becomes inflamed and irritated.

And, the Stone Bruise

While it’s likely that those who go barefoot in the summer are more likely to get stone bruises, the bruises can happen any time an unprotected foot comes into contact with a hard object, such as stepping on a kid’s toy blocks — ouch. 

It’s a common misconception that as long as you wear some kind of shoe, your feet will be safe from injury. However, stone bruises can occur even when wearing shoes, especially if the sole is thin, like with some running shoes.

Symptoms of a Stone Bruise

The stone bruise gets its name from feeling like a stone is stuck in your shoe or that you have stepped on a sharp rock hard enough to bruise your foot.

Symptoms differ from many other summer foot problems and include:

  • Usually pain specific to the heel.
  • Can sometimes also be the sole of your foot.
  • Red, swelling, bruising.
  • Pain can occur immediately or within 48 hours.

These symptoms are also common in those who suffer from Metatarsalgia. If your symptoms do not clear up or if they come back, it would be a good idea to speak with your podiatrist.

How To Treat a Stone Bruise on the Heel

Resting and staying off your feet is critical to helping your heel recover. The other steps in the RICE method — Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation — can also help relieve pain and promote healing.  Luckily, most bruises on the heel clear up after a few days. Getting stone bruises often may require a change in footwear or avoiding certain exercise routines for you to get long-term relief. 

Stone Bruise Prevention

Avoid getting a stone bruise by wearing shoes with thicker soles. Heel pads may help if you have a favorite pair of shoes but know that the soles are too thin. Flip-flops are probably not a good idea, but a good pair of summer sandals can help you to enjoy the Summer fun without the pain. 

What if It’s Not a Stone Bruise?

The type of heel pain treatment you may need depends on the cause of your symptoms. Since it only takes about a week for a stone bruise to heal, you should be stepping on the happy side of life very soon.  If your symptoms are different, worsen, or persist, we’re here to help.

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