What Are Stone Bruises and How Do They Occur?

Do you have severe pain in the ball of your foot? If yes, you may have developed a condition called a stone bruise. It is a type of bruise that occurs on the ball of the foot and heel pad after stepping on a stone or uneven ground. Most athletes are prone to this bruise. While this bruise gets better with self-care over time, some stone bruises can cause immense pain which requires medical attention. Learn what stone bruises are and how they occur in this article. Log on to www.doralhw.org for a consultation.



What are stone bruises?

A stone bruise is a type of pain that occurs in the ball of the foot (generally at the base of the big toe) and heel pad. It may happen when you step on an object such as a stone and put weight on the foot or other uneven protuberances from the ground. However, it may also occur from steady, repetitive impacts on the foot.

Generally, runners are at risk of getting this type of bruise due to the repeated impacts upon the foot. Stone bruise pain can be mild or severe enough to make anyone down. The pain can be sharp, tingling, or burning, due to nerves within the foot becoming irritated or inflamed via the injury.

It’s not necessary that you feel pain immediately after encountering the stone or object, but sometimes it grows gradually or may take a day or two to cause discomfort at maximum potential. If the pain is in the front of the foot, it will get worse when your toes get curled upward.


Causes and risk factors

Stone bruises occur after the impact on the ball of the foot or heel pad when you step on a stone or run on broken ground. When the bones near the end of the foot press against one another it affects your nerves causing them to become painful or inflamed. As we spend most of our time on our feet, a stone bruise can be extremely painful.

The pain can develop immediately or may take up to 48 hours (about 2 days) before the first pain symptoms show up. Besides stepping on a stone or running on broken ground, any physical activity that requires repetitive heavy impacts on the foot like running or jumping, can also cause a stone bruise. In most cases, heel pain after running is quite common.


However, some more internal, and extrinsic factors can increase the risk of stone bruises, including:

  1. Structural abnormalities: A structural abnormality such as flat feet or high arches, can alter the way weight and forces should be distributed across each foot, leading to excess pressure and increased chances of injuries in certain areas causing a stone bruise.
  2. Excess weight: Having more weight means more pressure exerted on the feet with every step you take, increasing the risk of injuries.
  3. Aging: The older you are, the thinner your skin will become, and you lose collagen and fat deposits throughout the body, which means a less protective fat pad along the heel and ball of the foot.


According to the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, people who are 50 years old roughly lost 50% fat on their feet. When fat pads are thin, you have less cushioning which makes the heel or ball vulnerable to bruising.

  1. Poor footwear: If you walk around barefoot or wear thin-soled shoes, then you increase the risk of foot bruising because, without proper protection, a pointy rock, sharp stick, or other debris can damage your foot and cause a stone bruise. Athletes should use supportive shoes and prevent excessive pressure toward the front of the foot, otherwise, they are more prone to bruises.
  2. Foot conditions: Foot conditions like bunions and degenerative conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can affect the structure of the foot in ways that make your foot vulnerable to stone bruises and related injuries.



Generally, a bruise causes some blood vessels under the skin to break and allow blood to leak out. It may cause pain, swelling, tenderness, and redness. The pain can be burning, tingling, or inflamed due to the nerves’ response to the injury.

As it heals, the tenderness goes away, and blood gets metabolized. When this happens, bruised skin turns from red to bluish to yellowish, and then turns back to normal. It generally takes around 2 weeks for a bruise to resolve completely.

In some cases, your foot may feel like it has a bruise which may be tender or swollen but with no discoloration. This may happen because the broken blood vessels lie in deeper skin or because your skin is thick which camouflages the pooled blood.


When to seek medical help

You should seek medical help if:

  • You can’t walk
  • You’re in extreme pain.
  • Your swelling does not go away with self-care.

Your doctor or podiatrist will perform a physical exam and ask some questions to understand your bruise. It includes:

  • When the bruising happens.
  • Have you fallen or encountered any trauma to the foot?
  • What type of shoes or footwear do you wear?
  • What sports or activities do you regularly participate in?

Your doctor may even order imaging tests like X-rays and MRIs to see what’s happening inside your foot. It allows them to see if you have a broken bone or another internal injury. They may recommend physical therapy to help you with recovery.


Stone bruises are a type of bruise that occurs when you step on a stone or put weight on your foot repetitively on uneven ground which damages the ball of the foot or heel pad. The pain may occur immediately or build up gradually over a day or two. Usually, the pain goes away over time with self-care, however, if your pain is not getting better or the swelling does not go away then you should seek medical help to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.


If you need help with foot bruises, visit our podiatry clinic in Brooklyn to get professional medical help. Call us to book your appointment now!!!

Doral Health & Wellness employs Podiatrists with extensive education and expertise. Trauma to the tendons, muscles, and bones of the foot is quite common, as are infections secondary to systemic diseases. It’s not a promising idea to put off seeing Foot Doctor Brooklyn until you’re in a lot of pain. Our address is 1797 Pitkin Avenue, New York, NY 11212. To make an appointment, please call +1-347-384-5690 or send an email to info@doralhw.org.