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How do I Treat a Foot Bruise?

Treating a foot bruise involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation to reduce swelling and pain. Gentle exercises may also aid recovery. It's crucial to monitor the bruise for signs of more serious injury. For a step-by-step guide with helpful images, and to learn when to seek medical attention, continue with our comprehensive article on foot bruise care. What will your recovery look like?
Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

In most cases, a foot bruise will not need much special care or attention. If there is swelling accompanying the bruise, keep your foot elevated and pack it with ice to bring down the puffiness. You can also take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce any pain you may be experiencing. Afterward, just keep an eye on the bruising over the next week or so to be sure the discoloration begins to subside and that no spreading of the bruised area takes place.

A foot bruise is a relatively minor injury, generally caused by blunt force to the area, which results in blood pooling just beneath the skin. This is what causes the blue, purple, or even green color most bruises have. They typically heal on their own and will slowly begin to fade and change colors as it does so. Your bruise may go from dark blue or purple or red to a light blue, green, or yellow. Within a week or so, you should see very little apparently bruising.

A person with a bruised toenail.
A person with a bruised toenail.

If you injured your foot and additional symptoms are present, such as swelling, you should do what you can to treat it. Keep your foot elevated and put an ice pack on the swollen area to bring it down. You can take an over the counter pain reliever to alleviate any pain.

Severe pain and extreme or widespread bruising should be evaluated by a doctor. This could indicate a fracture or other more serious injury which will need to be treated by a professional. If that is the case, your physician will give you instructions on how to best manage the treatment of your foot bruise, fracture, swelling, and any other symptoms.

Ice pack placed on a foot bruise.
Ice pack placed on a foot bruise.

Keep an eye on your foot bruise to ensure the color of your foot returns to its normal state. Most of the time, a bruise will take a few days to just over a week to fully heal, depending on the size and severity of the bruising. If the bruise seems to stay the same, meaning it does not fade in color, or grows larger, you should see a doctor. A doctor should also be notified if you begin seeing additional bruises in the same or other areas, especially if you seem to be bruising more easily than normal.

Keeping a bruised foot elevated will help keep the swelling down.
Keeping a bruised foot elevated will help keep the swelling down.

Ease of bruising or an inability of a bruise to heal is generally nothing to worry about, but it can sometimes indicate a serious medication condition. Ailments which may cause severe or chronic bruising can include certain autoimmune diseases and cancers like leukemia. Although unlikely, treatment for these conditions should be started right away.

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Discussion Comments


I dropped the metal panel that closes off a doggie door straight down on to the top of my foot. Of course it is bruised, sore and swollen some. This happened three days ago. The bruising and swelling is moving up into my ankle. I am on blood thinner and am assuming that is what is causing this.


@clintflint - I've sprained my ankle a couple of times now and every time I do it my ankle balloons up to about three times its normal size, but never seems to change color for a few days. It always looks much worse when it's actually on the way to healing.

My mother will bruise at the drop of a hat, though, even on her feet, so it might depend on the person as well as the place they're being bruised.


@KoiwiGal - Never ignore foot pain if you can help it, even if it doesn't seem like much. You put so much wear and tear on your feet that a small complaint can quickly turn into a big one.

My sister is a runner and she hates having to stop her training, but she'll do it if there is any kind of pain in her feet. It can turn into a sprain or a stress fracture so easily and often you can't tell just from looking at the outside. Foot bruising takes a while to develop.


The worst bruising I ever had was when I went on a really long day hike with a friend of mine. We hadn't planned to go, but it was a really nice day and it seemed like the thing to do. We were on vacation, so I hired a pair of hiking boots and we set off.

Unfortunately, my boots were a tiny bit too big. It didn't bother me while we hiked up the trail, but on the way back down, my toes kept sliding to hit the front of the boot.

After a couple of hours I was in agony, but we didn't have any choice but to go on. I was almost disappointed when I took my boots off at the end of the day and there didn't seem to be any bruising on my foot. My friend must have thought I was just a big cry-baby!

Of course, about a week after the hike my toenails turned black and just about fell off, but he missed that because we don't live in the same city.

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    • A person with a bruised toenail.
      By: F.C.G.
      A person with a bruised toenail.
    • Ice pack placed on a foot bruise.
      By: Luis Santos
      Ice pack placed on a foot bruise.
    • Keeping a bruised foot elevated will help keep the swelling down.
      By: BlueSkyImages
      Keeping a bruised foot elevated will help keep the swelling down.
    • Over the counter pain relievers can help reduce the pain of a bruised foot.
      By: Pat Lalli
      Over the counter pain relievers can help reduce the pain of a bruised foot.
    • An ice pack, which can help with a foot bruise.
      By: Marc Dietrich
      An ice pack, which can help with a foot bruise.