Self-Treatment of Minor Foot Problems

W. Steven Pray, PhD, RPh


US Pharmacist. 2002;27(3) 

In This Article

The Black Heel Syndrome

Runners may approach pharmacists for help with an irregular hemorrhage on the heel known as the black heel syndrome. This rare condition appears as a crop of dark brown to black macules that are irregular in pattern.[1] The typical location is the sole of the foot or the edges of the heels. Black heel syndrome reflects tearing of superficial blood vessels when the runner subjects the foot to a sudden shearing force. It can mimic more serious conditions such as melanoma. However, efficient questioning can uncover the causal running history. Black heel syndrome causes no discomfort and subsides in a relatively short period of time. If the patient wishes to avoid it entirely, the pharmacist may suggest use of an anti-shearing insole, or use of felt linings or other padding materials inside the shoe. Paddings for feet and shoes are usually backed with adhesive, so they may be placed on the foot or directly inside the shoe at the points of maximal friction. They may be made of lamb's wool, latex foam, or cotton flannel.