Umm, ow?
January 13, 2018 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I stepped on a hard plastic thing and injured the arch of my foot, now hours later my heel hurts so bad I can't put weight on it. How worried should I be?

Ok, Metafilter, youarenotmydoctororothermedicalprofessional. BUT. This morning around 7AM I was going from bed to the bathroom and stepped on a charging cord for a game controller. The big square plastic bit on the end went corner-first into the arch of my foot. Hurt like HELL, but I went on with my business, only to notice I was actually bleeding. I had a flap of broken skin and light bleeding from the injury. I cleaned it with alcohol, put a band-aid on it and went back to sleep.

A few hours later I wake up and get out of bed only to have terrible stabbing pain in my heel of the same foot, so bad I can't really bear to put weight on it. I can barely hobble around painfully only on the ball of that foot. After a few hobbles around the house it's aching all the time. The pain is deep in my heel, like near the bone in the center of my heel. The actual wound isn't that sore even when I press on it.

Thoughts? I've had plantar fasciitis in the past that was bad enough not to be able to walk, but usually that only happens when I walk a long way in poor shoes and comes on gradually. I'm home alone with no way to visit a doctor, and it's the weekend.
posted by threeturtles to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
I would be worried about infection and would see a doctor today.
posted by SLC Mom at 12:32 PM on January 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

Go to a good urgent care today to get it cleaned up and evaluated.
posted by Elsie at 1:10 PM on January 13, 2018

It sounds like a bruised heel bone. Ice, NSAIDs, elevation, and bandaging may help if you're not able to have it checked out today.
posted by halation at 2:41 PM on January 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I seriously doubt it's infected.

NSAIDs like halation suggested. Give it a few days.

Stepping on sharp plastic things is painful in a way that doesn't make any sense.

posted by gregr at 3:31 PM on January 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

This sort of thing hurts a lot. Ice it, take some pills if you need to, eat well and rest up. The fact that you were so distracted by the pain of stepping on the thing you didn't notice you were bleeding indicates you really got yourself good there - ow!!

I doubt you need to see a doctor, but if you are concerned or still in the same amount of pain and can afford it, it is likely worth the peace of mind. If you are in MORE pain or feel new bad sensations (burning, numbness) then definitely see your PCP or hit a walk in Monday. They will probably clean up your wound if needed as well as give you some nice bandaids and whatnot.
posted by love2potato at 4:08 PM on January 13, 2018

As others have said, you should probably see a doctor sooner rather than later, but unless the wound looks like it's infected, I wouldn't lose too much sleep.

As you've already suffered from plantar fascitis, you probably already know that you have a band of ligament tissue stretching across the base of your foot, and any injury to it will result in a great deal of pain, because even if you're not overweight, the amount of pressure put on that one area of your body when walking is immense, so damage to that area of tissue will be far more noticeable than the underside of your arm for instance.
posted by inner_frustration at 4:17 PM on January 13, 2018

Yeah the wound looks fine. Ice and elevation (and a nap) have helped a lot. It still hurts to put weight on but it's not throbbing in the same way. I think it must be just really bruised and the area is swollen. Thanks, I'll wait and see how it is by Monday.
posted by threeturtles at 4:30 PM on January 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

IANAD. This does sound like a bruise. I'm told that infections tend to cause swelling and pain accompanied by heat, specifically at the site of the infection, which would be the cut. Bruises hurt and can swell, but leave the standard bruise discoloration progression without the extra warmth. Darkening or discoloration of veins leading away from a wound or swollen area, general redness of the skin (not cold-induced ruddiness that goes away as your skin warms up again from being iced), and other spreading of the swelling can also be signs of an infection. If such symptoms occur and spread quickly, a doctor or hospital visit is a good idea. Otherwise, your plan to monitor the situation and see a doctor on Monday if it's not improving (or starting to obviously look like a bruise) sounds good.
posted by eviemath at 5:34 AM on January 14, 2018

Sometimes plantar fascia injuries show up as heel pain and are diagnosed as a heel bruise. That might be more likely with your history of plantar fasciitis?
posted by cnc at 8:34 AM on January 14, 2018

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