A bruised heel should be treated with protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation, also known as the PRICE principles. Ice can be applied to the heel using either an ice bag or by immersing it in an ice bucket. Ice should be applied every two hours, for 20 minutes at a time, states SportsMD.
The aim of treating a bruised heel is to reduce the pain and swelling and prevent further injury. The patient should not walk on the heel until it is pain-free in a weight-bearing situation. Patients who ignore the pain and continue to train in spite of their bruised heel risk more serious injury and could damage the outer lining of the bone, notes SportsMD.
Patients can resume activity once the pain has gone. A heel cup or protective doughnut can be used to redistribute the weight off the center of the heel. The athlete's shoes should have sufficient cushioning to protect the heel when returning to sport. Good shoes are important to protect the heel from further injury, explains SportsMD.
A bruised heel, also known as a fat pad contusion, is common amongst athletes participating in any sport that requires repetitive landing on the feet. Some factors that increase the risk of a bruised heel injury include excessive body weight, age, worn-out running shoes and increases in training, notes SportsMD.