Close look on a bone bruise

If a bone bruise occurs, it indicates a small injury on the bone surface. The discoloration manifests as blood and other bodily fluids accumulate at the site. It is likely to damage the bone, but more likely to occur on bones near the skin surface.

Indications of a bone bruise

The signs that indicate a bone bruise include the following:

  • Swollen joint
  • Rigidity
  • Pain and tenderness that continues longer than a regular bruise
  • Difficulty using the damaged joint

Remember that a bone bruise can last anywhere from a few days up to months.

When to consult a doctor


Pain and tenderness that continues longer than a regular bruise.

If an individual develops a bone bruise, it is difficult to figure out if it is a more serious issue that necessitates treatment. A doctor should be consulted so that a diagnosis can be given.

Seek medical care if any of the following are present:

  • Swelling becomes worse and does not seem to settle
  • Pain continues to increase and could not be relieved by over-the-counter pain medications
  • Certain parts of the body such as the toes or fingers turn cold, bluish and numb

These are signs of a severe case of bone bruise. Oftentimes, a bone bruise is only one component of the injury where there might be a fracture as well.

A severe bone bruise can disrupt with the flow of blood. Even though uncommon, it can cause a region of the bone to die. Once it dies, the damage is permanent.


For a minor bone bruise, the doctor generally suggests adequate rest, cold therapy and pain medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also be given.

In case the injury involves the foot or leg, raise the leg to reduce the swelling. Apply an ice pack for 15-20 minutes a few times throughout the day. Make sure that the pack is covered with a clean cloth or towel.

The individual is also instructed to avoid engaging in certain activities and sports until fully recovered. A minor injury usually recuperates in a few weeks while severe cases can take several months to heal.


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