Bruises are generally thought of as black and blue marks on your skin. The bruise is an indication that you have damaged the small blood vessels under your skin and caused fluid to leak into the nearby tissues. Some people bruise easily, offers appear not to bruise.
However, you may not have realized it but you can also bruise your bone. This is painful but less severe than fracturing or breaking a bone.
The Difference With Bone Bruises
Bones are also made of tissue but it is a different type of tissue to your skin and organs. In fact, bones are made of several layers of tissue, starting with the outer periosteum. This covers the majority of the outside of a bone. Further inside the bone is the medulla, this is where the bone marrow and fibrous tissue live. The fibrous tissue is also known as trabeculae.
Breaking all the trabeculae in an area happens when you fracture a bone. But, when you bruise it you only break some of the trabeculae.
It is worth noting that bone bruises do not show up on x-rays. You need to do an MRI to find them.
Cause of Bone Bruise
Any injury can cause a bone bruise. Trauma such as being hit by a car, twisting your bone during a fall or sports, or even simply knocking it hard against something.
The more dangerous the sport you do the higher the risk of bone bruising, especially if you don’t wear the appropriate safety gear.
Signs Of A Bone Bruise
There are several signs that you have a bone bruise and should seek medical attention:
- Tenderness in a specific area
- Swelling around a bone or joint
- Color change – significantly more severe than a standard bruise
- Severe pain
Dealing With A Bone Bruise
A bone bruise can take weeks to heal. However, there are several things you can do to help the process and strengthen your bone for the future. The first thing you should do is chat with your local Botany physiotherapy specialist.
They will provide you with a selection of exercises. These encourage movement of the joint as the bone heals, helping it to heal properly and for you to maintain good movement levels.
You should also ice the area daily to reduce inflammation, allowing the bone to heal. In addition, lifting the injury above heart level can help, assuming this is possible.
You may also need to take painkillers as a bone bruise is painful for several days. In some cases, your doctor or physiotherapist may also prescribe a brace to prevent you from moving the bone or joint too much as it heals.
Interestingly, getting plenty of vitamin D, calcium, and protein can also help you to heal faster and maintain strength in your bones. It is also worth noting that smoking delays bone healing. If you smoke you will be recommended to stop, at least while the bone heals.
In most cases, the bone will heal in a couple of months. But, if the damage is particularly large there can be blood flow issues which can, in extreme cases, cause the death of part of your bone. That’s why you need to stay in regular contact with your doctor and do as they tell you.