I started exercising more, swimming and stretching and stuff. I realised I should have always done that. You’re just stronger. You wake up in the morning and you want to go skating.
– Lance Mountain
Heel bruises are a pretty common injury in the skate world and a super annoying one as well. They often hurt just to walk on and end up coming back 3 or 4 times before they properly heal. Under each heel is a kind of fatty pad which acts as a shock absorber but just like anything when you smack it too hard, it bruises. This can happen from one big hit or repeatedly hitting the same spot.
If you had to choose to do one thing to heal a heel bruise it should be rest, this injury really doesn't go away if you keep banging down on it and you can't really avoid that if you keep skating. I've had many heel bruises in my time, some of which have lasted for days and some for months. The ones that lasted for a long time would stick around only because I start skating again too early.
Most of the time you can rehab this injury yourself but if you're in an insane amount of pain or you don't seem to be making any progress recovering or you're feeling sharp shooting pains you should hit up a doctor as it may be something more severe than just a heel bruise.
If you rest as soon as you bruise your heel and it's not too severe you can usually recover in a few days. However, if you keep skating on it when it's still painful you're only going to damage it further and it could take months to go away.
The 3 steps below - rest, ice and elevation should be done simultaneously.
rest - The first thing you should do is rest until you have no pain. This doesn't just mean rest from skating but anything that involves impact.
If you've gotta spend a lot of time on your feet, because of work or whatever, buy or make some shock absorbing pads to put in the heels of your shoes or even better get some crutches and stay off it completely.
ice - The faster you can get to icing your heel bruise the better. If you're still out on the sesh go to a shop and get some ice or a bag of peas, wrap your heel in a towel/t-shirt and stick in it. You want to ice it on and off - 20 minutes every hour is enough - 20 mins is the limit to stop frostbite so don't think it's helping to keep it on for an hour. Do this for the first 24 to 72 hours.
elevation - Keep your heel propped up on something above your heart whilst you're resting.
After the first few days of icing you can switch to heating it. The same frequency as with icing - 20 mins every hour. You can just dip your foot in a bucket of hot water (disclaimer: I'm not to blame for your scolded toes) or if you have a heat pack, you can use that instead. You can get hot/cold packs that can either be froze or put in the microwave depending on what you want.
Once you're no longer feeling any pain you can start putting weight on it but take it slow and don't start skating stairs straight away. Take it easy - skate some mini ramp or flatground for about a week or 2 depending on how bad the heel bruise was.
You can also buy things called heel cups or heel donuts that protect your heel from any further damage whilst you get back into skating and your heel is still sensitive.
There are a few things you can do to help prevent heel bruises:
Get good shoes with a bit of padding, like Osiris D3's. Jokes, but in all seriousness, if you skate a lot of gaps Janoskis or other skinny shoes aren't going to be your best option in terms of foot protection.
Get some decent insoles that are made specifically for skateboarding, I'd personally recommend Footprint Insoles.
If you kick your board away, try and land more on your toes first, not flat footed.
When you're skating gaps, try and roll out of your bails as much as possible, as in, drop to the floor and literally roll. This will absorb a big amount of the impact.
Don't be too tubby - being overweight obviously increases the impact and your chances of getting heel bruises.
Just land bolts.