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Recover from a bruised heel
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Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Recover from a bruised heel on 09/25/2009 22:53:51 MDT Print View

Hi All - At the end of August, I took my son to a water park and at the end of one of the water slides, my heel slammed (and I mean slammed) into the drain grate of a landing pool that was about 2 feet too shallow. The damage I did, as I've determined, was a "bruised heel" - basically an injury to the fat pad under your heel bone. Painful at first, but after that, just really inconvenient. The problem though is that if you don't let it get better, it can get really worse.

So anyways, I've been nursing this thing since then. I re-injured it once when I was climbing some stuff with my son, forgot about the heel momentarily, and jumped about 10 feet down, and got an instant reminder.

GET TO THE POINT MAN... right! so, my question for anyone out there that has had this injury - at what point did you trust that it was better and ready for miles again? In mid-October I'm doing 24 miles on North Fork Mtn in Monongahela, and want to be sure that I don't regret it at, say, mile 13. I'm able to walk normal again right now, but it still seems a little tender, though that could be in my head. Advice?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Heel on 09/26/2009 00:53:08 MDT Print View

I did something similar about a month ago when thing went wrong on my mtn bike. It still hurts...doesn't feel much better yet.

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Re: Heel on 09/26/2009 07:11:05 MDT Print View

Dan - first, be sure that it's a bruised heel. pinch your heel from the sides - if that hurts, you may have actually broken your heel bone. Assuming that doesn't hurt, you need to stay off your feet for a few days to let it recoup. This is what I did about a week ago: rented a bunch of movies and got a couple books and magazines and parked it on the couch for three days. Anytime I got up for the bathroom or whatever, I put no weight on the injured heel, and walked on the ball of my foot instead. For the next few days after that, I wore a gel heel insert in my shoe and walked on the ball of my foot still. Today I feel 99%. It's just tender enough that I don't trust it with exertion right now. And my concern is of course re-injuring it with the hike so close.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Recover from a bruised heel on 09/26/2009 18:30:15 MDT Print View

Kier,

You might want to load up your pack to trip weight and do some shorter walks on hills now, just to see how your heel tolerates the impact. Maybe build up to 12-13 miles over 2-3 weeks. That should give you some feedback to work with.

hunter nelson
(hunt4car) - F
well. on 09/26/2009 21:13:06 MDT Print View

I would just go and use some hiking poles to destribute (sp) your weight to your hands.
good luck!

Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Ibuprofen on 09/26/2009 22:01:49 MDT Print View

I injured my heel on a rocky section of trail in the Sierra's back in 2005. It hurt for 2-3 years until my nurse sister gave me a suggestion. She told me to take 800mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day for 3 weeks straight. I did it and problem solved. It has not hurt me for over 2 years. By the way, check with your doctor to be sure it's ok for you to take this much ibuprofen.

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
thanks on 09/26/2009 22:14:19 MDT Print View

Tom - That was my first thought, but the annoyance of this particular injury is that it seems to be very tough to know when it's ok to take on a load. If I do a test run too soon, I'm hosed.

Hunter - interesting suggestion. I think I'm also gonna tape my heel up the whole time, as that seems to help support the padding in the right place.

Laurence - Good Lord Man! 2 - 3 years? Oy! and then 2400mg/day of ibu? i'll check with my doc and see... sheesh - that's Rx strength I'm pretty sure... wow lol

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Ibuprofen on 09/27/2009 06:50:11 MDT Print View

Lawrence, I am in the process of 3x 800 ibuprofen per day for a sore heel right now. It has definitely reduced the pain and if I don't push things it looks as though the heel will heal :).

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Re: Ibuprofen on 09/27/2009 07:14:06 MDT Print View

Charles - did you see a doc to get that treatment or are you just doing it cause you read it somewhere?

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Recover from a bruised heel on 09/27/2009 16:44:26 MDT Print View

My regimen of 3x daily, 3-200 mg tablets is based on an earlier prescription of 1-1000 mg tablet 4 x per day, from a physician who was treating my left foot for the same thing, plantar fasciitis from loss of fat padding due to age. The ibuprofen regimen followed a quite painful cortisone injection in my heel. I found the prescription ibuprofen treatment was pretty hard on my stomach. The 3-200 mg tablets 3x daily works a bit more slowly but does work and does not bore holes in my stomach. I am not eager for another cortisone injection.

I have intermittent plantar fasciitis in both feet. Sometimes I am pain free for extended periods, other times it hurts like heck for no discernible reason. I hiked the JMT last year with no pain at all. I did a 15 mile over-nighter a week ago and now I am back on the pills for my right foot. Go figure!

Edited by Rincon on 09/27/2009 16:47:31 MDT.

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Re: Recover from a bruised heel on 09/27/2009 17:27:43 MDT Print View

cool - thanks for the insight... i'll start taking a normal dose of ibu till i can get in to the dr. to confirm.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: thanks on 09/27/2009 17:44:34 MDT Print View

"If I do a test run too soon, I'm hosed." Wow. That's one tough nut to crack.

"and then 2400mg/day of ibu? i'll check with my doc and see... sheesh - that's Rx strength I'm pretty sure... wow lol"

Drink lots of water. At that dose, ibuprofen is real hard on the kidneys. My doc said 1800mg is the "therapeutic dose", but I only weigh 135# or so. Definitely run it by your doc.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Heel on 09/27/2009 17:55:01 MDT Print View

Dan - first, be sure that it's a bruised heel. pinch your heel from the sides - if that hurts, you may have actually broken your heel bone.
When I pinch the sides it hurts a lot...mostly on the outside side. I do think I've broken/fractured something based on how sharp the pain is and on how long it has persisted. Normally the pain isn't too bad....I would like it to get better, but it's tolerable right now. I should see a Doc, but I don't have med coverage right now.

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Re: heel on 09/28/2009 09:00:58 MDT Print View

"Wow. That's one tough nut to crack." - yeah. i've found it's ridiculously easy to re-injure it and start from square one. still, it's not terribly painful when it does get re-injured, just an amazingly annoying location.

Dan - you may want to try taping up your heel also. run a length of tape around the bottom of your achilles, so that the tape ends below each side of your ankle. then run strips of tape under your foot so that they connect with that first strip, layer them all the way back. then run one more strip around the back of your foot, under the first anchor strip. I've been doing this in addition to the ibu, and it feels much better.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Taping on 09/28/2009 13:14:01 MDT Print View

Thanks...I will try this. I figured this would just heal on it's own but it's been weeks now and it still hurts quite a bit. Unfortunately, I work two full time jobs and both have me on my feet the entire time. I'm often on my feet from 9:30am until 2:00am (i work retail & at a bar). By then end of the day my heel is throbbing pretty good.

Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Ibuprofen takes a little time to work on 09/28/2009 14:26:15 MDT Print View

My doctor's diagnosis was also plantar fasciitis but he did not have any good suggestions. I got the information for the ibuprofen overload from my sister the nurse. Of course she already knew my stomach could handle it.

When I was taking the regiment of ibuprofin for the plantar fasciitis, it seemed that is was not working at first. Even after the 3 weeks it seemed to still hurt. The weird thing was that two-thee weeks after I quit taking the three weeks of ibuprofen, my heel completely quit hurting. That was 2 years ago and probably more than 200 miles of Sierra backpacking.

DON HANSEN
(DEHANSEN) - F
Re: Recover from a bruised heel on 09/30/2009 15:55:03 MDT Print View

I also brused my heel climing some granite boulders in the Sierras about a month ago on a backpack trip. I was also advised to stay off it but hesitate to take IBprofen because it can thin your blood over time and I was told not good to take too long.
Anyway, I've been resting but am anxious to get out there as well. I would recommend the exercise on following site : http://www.footminders.com/plantar-fasciitis-exercises.html . My brother-in-law had plantars heel and he did the exercise and finally got rid of it after years of painfully walking on boulder while fishing some rivers.
I guess rest and exercise is the remedy. It has been a month and my foot does feel better but still tender and do not wish to push it too soon to re-injur.
Good luck.
Don
BTW, I can kayak and mtn bike with no problem.

Eric Moe
(EricMoe) - F

Locale: Washington
extra sock on 10/06/2009 09:49:10 MDT Print View

I've bruised my heels a few times playing soccer. While recovering I found that simply wearing a thick extra sock on that foot helped my comfort level a lot. More padding more better.

Jesse Eastman
(jweastma) - F
Re: extra sock on 11/18/2009 07:13:14 MST Print View

I had a similar injury and I'm still not healed. It has caused me a lot of stress and ruined my fall backpacking season.

In August I backpacked the Long trail in Vermont 272 miles in 16 days. I'm not sure why I did it so fast but I was running along with some guys in the AT bubble in the southern part of the state and they really pushed my pace. Anyway I really hurt my right heal about halfway though the trip. Strained my Achilles tendon and...I'm thinking now broke my heal. I continued to push 25 30 mile days in upstate Vermont (If anyone's been up there its painful without and injury). I also slipped coming down Camels Hump in a rain storm fell about eight feet and really really bruised my leg with the worst hematoma I've ever seen, which I'm still recovering from Three months later.

I was popping as much alieve as I could on the trail and when I got off I locked up for over a week of complete immobility. Then I had to walk with a cane for 1 1/2 months (by the way no medical insurance).

Heel still hurts with a loaded pack and the hematoma is affecting the mobility of my leg still....I know this all sounds crazy but I'm 26 and until this incident I've been invisible on the trail...there was nothing that determination, blood and sweat couldn't overcome. Now I'm worried I'll never be the same on the trail. Not that 30 miles a day even makes sense.

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Re: Re: extra sock on 11/18/2009 08:09:15 MST Print View

Yeah dude - that's crazy. Try pinching your heel from the sides - if that hurts at this point, its broken. If not, it's bruised. You've got to stay off of it, the consequences of pushing that injury could mean surgery.

Well I should update things I s'pose. I basically took the approach that I was gonna do what I could to make the hike, and then see a doctor for longer term fixing after the hike, if needed. I kinda blended what folks here said: I put cold on it whenever possible, maxed out on the daily dose of Advil for 10 days straight, stayed off the foot as much as possible (walked on the ball of my foot), and kept it taped up much of the time. This last ditch regiment started about 2 or 3 weeks before the trip. I can happily report that I was able to do the North Fork Mtn hike without a tinge of pain! It hasn't hurt me in the least since then either.

Jesse - I'm no doctor of course, but based on my experience, 3 weeks of extremely tender treatment of that heel may save the winter for you.