Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have a bone bruise in my heel?"
Constant aching pain in my left heel, like right in the middle. Looks fine from the outside. Is it a bone bruise or a hairline fracture?
A fracture of the bone in this location, called a hairline fracture or a stress fracture, is certainly possible. This most commonly occurs in people who are very athletically active, such as long distance runners. Your primary care doctor will be able to perform an x-ray to rule out a bone fracture. More likely than a fracture of the heel bone is, I think, a condition called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is essentially an over use or strain injury of the thick connective tissue that sits in the arch of the foot in front of the heel bone. The strain causes pain in the arch of the foot, especially when standing or exercising. Your doctor will be able to diagnose or rule out this condition. If you are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, anti inflammatory medications are often very helpful. Your doctor will also be able to describe some stretching and foot strengthening exercises that can be used to prevent and relieve more pain. Additionally, it can be helpful to switch to a pair of shoes with better arch support. If this is not a fracture or plantar fasciitis, your doctor will help you consider alternative diagnoses and treatments.
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