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Family Foot & Ankle

Stone Bruise: What Did I Just Step On?

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Ouch! What did I just step on? Was that a jagged rock? Sure, the Ohio River Valley may be home to some impressive geological formations (and the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History & Science even has a two-story replica of a limestone cave), but podiatrists and geologists alike agree that the best way to explore rocks and minerals is with your eyes, not your feet.

A stone bruise is a blunt trauma injury that causes a deep contusion to bone or the surrounding fatty tissues on your heel or in the ball of your foot. True to its name, the condition is often caused by striking a stone or other small object forcefully, and it may feel like you’re still walking on that object for days thereafter each time you take a step.

Most people can imagine a time when they accidently stepped on something that caused a sharp pain (a LEGO brick, perhaps?), but a true stone bruise usually requires a little extra force. That’s why athletes (and especially runners) are the most susceptible to this form of foot pain—contact with a small object during a powerful foot strike, landing with the full force of your weight, is often enough to bruise tissues if foot protection is inadequate. Stone bruises can be caused by other impacts, too—usually with a force not quite strong enough to cause a fracture, but more than strong enough to cause bruising and discomfort.

If a recent run turned into an unexpected geology lesson, or you woke up one morning after a run and now feel like there’s a pebble beneath every step you take, you might just have this type of bruise. Although the foot pain typically goes away on its own with rest, call Family Foot and Ankle Center, Inc. at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 if symptoms are severe or persist without improvement. Let us help you get back on your feet.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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