Bruising on your feet, what it may mean

December 10, 2023 • mdconnect • foot carefoot conditions

The feet are the most maltreated parts of the human body. They take a lot of abuse throughout a lifetime. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, the average person walks 75,000 miles by age 50. That’s a lot to ask for two little appendages, but the feet are built to withstand a lot of trauma. That doesn’t mean they don’t suffer the occasional injury like a bruise. Bruising occurs when capillaries leak blood under the surface of the skin. How serious is bruising on the feet?

What Is a Bruise?

A bruise represents blood pooling under a surface like skin. When it comes to the feet, there are three types of bruises you might see.


This is the most common type of bruise that occurs. It happens when a blunt object hits part of your foot. For example, if you drop a glass on your foot, you might see top of foot bruising. The bump crushes tissue, causing it to bleed. That blood pools near the surface of the skin, generating discoloration. This is what happens with most injuries that affect feet, like sprains. A sprain is the stretching or tearing of a ligament. When the injury happens, the ligament and surrounding tissue bleeds, causing bruising.


A hematoma indicates significant bleeding under a surface like the skin or even the toenail. Hematomas can develop slowly and be more painful than a contusion.


Purpura is a specific kind of bruising usually associated with an underlying medical problem such as an allergic reaction or infection. These bruises appear as small dots that can group together.

What Causes Bruising on the Feet?

For many people, a bruise on a foot means they injured it in some way. Maybe they stubbed their toe or dropped something. Most bruises are not a symptom of a serious disease or injury. Bruising can occur with:
  • Sprains
  • Fractures
  • Muscle strains
  • Blunt force trauma
  • A fall
  • A sports injury
Certain medical conditions can cause bruising, too, such as:
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Leukemia
  • Infections
  • Medication use
  • Insect bits
  • Vasculitis
Some of these conditions are more grave than others. For example, leukemia is a cancer of the blood and is very serious.

Symptoms of a Foot Bruise

Most bruising comes with discoloration, but there are other symptoms to watch for, such as:
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Difficulty walking
  • Numbness or tingling
With any of these symptoms, there could be bruising that requires treatment.

When To See a Podiatrist

How do you know when bruising on your feet is a problem for the doctor?


You can get a bruise on your foot without knowing why. If you start to see recurrent bruising without explanation, make an appointment with the podiatrist.

Poor Healing

You should also get an evaluation if you see bruising that doesn’t go away. You can expect bruises to last for a short time. If yours doesn’t seem to improve, you will need a medical evaluation to determine why.

Significant Injury

If you injured your foot or ankle and there is significant bruising, you’ll want to let the podiatrist check it out. It may be more severe than you realize, especially if swelling or bruising occurs.

You Are Taking New Medication

If bruises start appearing on your feet and you are taking medication, contact the prescribing doctor, This may be a sign of a reaction to the drug or treatment.


Pain should always be a guide when it comes to problems with your feet. If the bruising affects your ability to walk, then the podiatrist might be able to help. The most important thing to remember about foot bruising is if the discoloration doesn’t fade or there is pain that is making it difficult to walk, call and make an appointment with the podiatrist. Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group specialists are here to help if you have problems with your feet. Give us a call today, or go online and make an appointment.

Request an Appointment

Fill out the form below to reach Alamitos – Seal Beach Podiatry Group, or call Los Alamitos: (562) 203-6151 or Seal Beach: (562) 242-1559 for immediate assistance.

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