A bone bruise is an impact injury that develops on the medullary part of the bone. The medullary part of the bone consists of thin fibers of trabeculae. When a few of the trabeculae are damaged, the bone is bruised.
Bone bruises most commonly occur on the knee bone, or patella, or the long bones of the leg, including the tibia and fibula. Orthopedic doctors can distinguish between a bruised bone and a fractured bone through an exam and diagnostic imaging.
Symptoms of a Bone Bruise
When you experience a bone bruise, you may notice that the area is painful to the touch. The affected area may be swollen. Soft tissues around the bone may also develop swelling and tenderness. Like other types of bruises, you may notice a change in the color of the area when you have a bone bruise. The injured joint may also be stiff and swollen. You may notice difficulty with moving the joint. These symptoms can last for up to two weeks, depending on the severity of your injury.
Causes of Bone Bruises
Any type of an impact injury may cause you to bruise your bone. Some of the most common injuries that orthopedic doctors discover as the cause of a bruised bone include falls, sports injuries, and automobile accidents. You can also develop a bruised bone from a twisting injury or severe arthritis. Acts of violence can also result in a bruised bone.
Treatments for Bone Bruises
The treatments provided by orthopedic doctors for a bruised bone depend on the cause of the condition, any other injuries and the severity of the symptoms. After ruling out a fracture, orthopedic doctors may recommend treatments such as resting of the bone or joint.
Applying ice to the area for up to 15 minutes at a time and elevating the affected bone above the height of your heart can help to reduce pain and swelling. The doctor may recommend that you use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium. If over-the-counter pain relievers do not reduce your pain, you may be given a prescription pain reliever. If you severely bruised your bone, braces, splints, or wraps may be given to you to help support the joint and reduce its swelling.