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Sports Medicine

Bone bruise



just had a few questions about bruises of the bone

1. how can you tell if your bone is bruised?

2. does a bruise of the bone show up on the skin in that particular area?

3.how long can a bruise on a bone take to heal


A "bruised bone" typically refers to bleeding that occurs under the tough fibrous covering of the bone called the periosteum.  It causes pain in the area of the bone but heals quickly as the blood is reabsorbed just like a bruise of the skin.  The bruising may or may not involve the skin and soft tissues as well.  Usually a bruised bone takes 7 - 10 days to feel back to normal although areas that are moved frequently (ribs or legs) can cause pain for a longer period of time.  The treatment is anti-inflammatory pain medications, ice and rest.

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Response by:

Charles Webster, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati