What you need to know about bone bruising

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In the past, bone bruising was simply misdiagnosed as fractures by most doctors. Due to the increasing number of cases of this injury as well as the improving technology, this condition was properly identified. It is important that you know how to distinguish bone bruising from fractures.


Bone bruising or bruises usually affect athletes but can also occur among average individuals. This injury is quite common in sports as well as during vehicular accidents. It is basically an impact to a particular body part that leaves a bruise behind. Once the bruise lasts or causes pain, it is no other than a bone bruise. This is caused by trauma, which is usually impact to the affected bone. The exterior layer of the bone is damaged, usually with a series of small-sized cracks but the bone itself is not fractured. Even though the injury can be considered minor, the damage and the effects can cause a lot of pain.

A bone bruise is also called as a periosteal bruise and occurs once the blood vessels in the exterior layer of the bone have been damaged. This is the most painful type of bruise. The other types of bruise include intramuscular and subcutaneous.

Throughout the years

Bone bruising has been considered as a condition that is difficult to diagnose. Take note that any signs of damage does not show up on an X-ray. It was only during the availability of MRI back in the 1980s when doctors were able to fully diagnose the injury.

Since an MRI can provide a highly accurate image of the injury, doctors were able to determine that it was not the bone that was damaged, but only the exterior layer that contains the blood vessels. The damaged blood vessels are responsible for the bruised color that manifests on the skin around the injury site.

Bone bruising
Allowing the individual to rest and the application of ice on the injured site will hasten the healing process.

Common misconceptions

Due to the pain caused by bone bruising, it is often mistaken for a bone fracture. The discoloration and swelling that is present during the injury can lead one to believe that it is a fracture. Once a doctor is consulted, the condition will be determined whether it is a bone bruise or a fracture.

Preventive measures

The treatment for bone bruising is quite similar to the first aid measures and treatment for any other bruise or injuries that causes swelling. Allowing the individual to rest and the application of ice on the injured site will hasten the healing process. For the meantime, anti-inflammatories and pain relievers can help ease the pain. It is sad to note that it can take up to weeks for the injury to completely heal and it is often difficult to prevent, especially those who engage in sports. It is good to note that just like with other bruises, it can heal quickly as long as proper care is provided.

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