A bruised bone is painful than any other type of bruise. It is a bit rare, but what causes bone bruising and what treatment approaches can be used to aid their healing?
What is a bone bruise?
A bone bruise, also known as bone contusion or periosteal bruise, is a traumatic injury sustained to a bone from a forceful impact resulting from bumping into or against a blunt object or person e.g. from car accidents, blows from another person or object (assault), or from sports injuries. So what is a bone bruised characterized with?
A bone bruise is characterize by intense pain that can last a few weeks or even months. The bruised part of the body is typically difficult to use.
Bone bruises involve the medullary portion of the bone which comprises of fibrous tissue referred to as trabeculae. As opposed to a bone fracture which involves damaging of all of the trabecular of the part of the bone affected, a bone bruise involves injury to only a few trabeculae.
Can you bruise a bone?
I saw one user in one of my favorite health forums ask, “Can you bruise a bone?” not sure if what she was suffering could have been one such case. Well, you can get a bruised bone from any factor that leads to traumatic impact to your body, affecting one or more bones.
Bruised bones are commonly associated with automobile accidents, falls, twisting of joints for, sports injuries, and physical blows from objects and personal assaults.
Bone bruises healing time varies from a few days to several months before healing and compared to soft tissue bruises, they are the most painful.
What to Do for a Bruised Bone
Wondering what to do for a bruised bone? Well, here is a brief summary on what to do for a bruised bone:
- Reduce pain by taking OTC painkillers such as acetaminophen, providing support e.g. with braces, and icing the affected area.
- Cut down on swelling by icing and taking bromelain supplements.
- Promote healing using microcurrent therapy and taking lots of rest to avoid placing stress to the affected area
These are discussed in more details in a subsequent section of this guide.
Ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shin & shoulder bones
In addition to a bruised knee and a bruised heel, one can also sustain a bruised ankle bone, shin, hip, wrist, foot, or elbow as a result of acute trauma. Bruised rib bones are also common in sportsmen and women.
A bruised ankle bone (usually affecting the lower part of tibia and/or the talus bone) often results from a supination injury, i.e. when someone lands awkwardly on the foot with the foot rolling outwards such that the weight of the person is born by the outer edge of the foot.
As with knee bruises, ankle bone bruises are common among professional athletes e.g. footballers, runners, and basketball players.
Some of the symptoms of bruised ankle bone are:
- Swelling of the bruised area
A bruised ankle bone doesn’t show on x-rays but your doctor may still require that one is done to rule out presence of fractures. Bruised ankle bone diagnosis is mainly based on MRI imaging.
As for treatment options, these range from micro current therapy to icing, pain relief with anti-inflammation medications, range of motions exercise, supplements and other measures commonly used to treat a bone bruises on general scale.
How to heal it
“I sustained a bruised bone yesterday after falling on my wrist during a baseball game. Please explain how to treat a bruised bone without having to see a doctor.” Alvin
All cases of bruised bones warrant the attention of a doctor to rule out fracture.Your doctor will most likely recommend that an X-ray and/or MRI be conducted to ascertain this. He or she will then advise you accordingly with regard to the most appropriate treatment options.
In addition to following through with all the medications recommended, you should as well take lots of rest and avoid placing any pressure on the affected bone or joint as this could significantly slow down healing.
Before we explain how to treat a bruised bone, let us start by reiterating that it is always advisable to seek medical attention for any symptoms of bone bruise. X-ray is typically used to ascertain that no fractures have been sustained and determine if further tests are needed. With that in mind, here is how to treat a bruised bone:
Rest: As part of your treatment regime, your doctor will ask you to take lots of rest to not only promote healing but also avoid any further complications that may arise as a result of continued pressure on the bruised bone.
Micro current therapy: This involves passing a small low current on the affected area to repair the tissues damaged during the injury and reduce the healing time of the bone. It also helps to relieve pain and swelling.
Pain relieving medication: Taking pain relieving medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) helps to reduce the severity the pain associated with bruises bones. You should however keep off of aspirin as it can thin the blood out and inhibit the clotting of blood worsening the bleeding in the affected area.
Icing: Placing some ice cubes on the injured area also helps to relieve pain. Simply rub ice gently on the affected area for 10-20 minutes 2-3 times each day. You should however not place the ice cubes directly on the skin; instead, wrap them in a small towel or cloth before applying.
Braces: It is also common part of treatment of bone bruising to offer additional support to the tissues in the affected area using braces. Braces help to minimize the pressure exerted on the affected area which then reduces pain, strengthens the affected area, and promotes quicker healing.
Bromelain supplements: Bromelain supplements are also known to aid the healing of bruised bones while reducing pain and swelling. These are typically digestive protein enzymes that are extracted from pineapples. It is usually available over-the-counter in capsules.
You will also want to:
- Avoid using tobacco or nicotine as it is associated with constriction of blood vessels, which can impede proper blood circulation and thus prolong the healing time.
- Take a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetable such as guavas and cherries and spinach, carrots and cabbages respectively.