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Athletic Training

Dealing with bruised instep



Four days ago I stepped fullforce on a steel cable, lane divider while getting out of a pool. It`s caused extreme soreness, burning pain on the bottom of my foot, and pains up past my ankle. I`ve tried ice & anti-inflammatories. My question is, when do you know when you should get this common type of injury (bruised instep) checked by a doctor, and how long should you allow for it to heal on it`s own? Is it best to continue to stay off of it, or work through the pain? Thank you!


The plantar (bottom) portion of your foot is very sensitive. Your transverse and longitudinal arches, muscle tendons, and plantar fascia are located there. That being said, in addition to superficial nerves, it is very easy to aggravate these soft tissue structures.

The radiating pain and discomfort with walking is more than likely due to the direct trauma from forcefully stepping on the cable. Unfortunately, this may or may not take an extended period to resolve due to the need to weight bear on the foot and you have gravity working against you (i.e., if you have swelling, gravity will keep it down in your foot).

If the pain persists and you continue to have discomfort with walking, I would recommend you see a physician. Best of luck.

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Response by:

Alex K Wong, MS, ATC Alex K Wong, MS, ATC
Assistant Athletic Lecturer & Trainer
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University