How long does it take to heal from a bone bruise?
Most bone bruises slowly heal over 2 to 4 months. A larger bone bruise may take longer to heal. You may not be able to return to sports activities for weeks or months. If your symptoms don't go away, your health care provider may give you an MRI.
Bone bruise is one of the four types of fractures that occur in the human body, the others are: stress fractures, osteochondral fractures and bone fractures. Bone bruise is a term that contains 3 different kinds of bone injuries: sub-periosteal hematoma, inter-osseous bruising and sub-chondral lesion.
- It causes blood and fluid to build up at in and around your injured bone: You may have symptoms such as pain, swelling, and a change in color of the injured area. Your healthcare provider will need to rule out other medical problems, such as a bone fracture. A bone bruise can only be seen on an MRI.
- Swelling is the result of the increased movement of fluid and white blood cells into the area of inflammation. The release of chemicals and the compression of nerves in the area of injury cause pain. The pain and swelling can keep the athlete from using the injured part, serving to protect it from further injury.
- A mild bruise or strain may heal within a few weeks. A more severe bruise or strain may take 6 weeks or longer. Sometimes a large bruise may bleed a lot into the thigh muscle. Deposits of calcium may form in the muscle tissue as the bruise heals, causing a hard lump in the muscle that may last a long time.
In the area affected by a bone bruise, symptoms may include:
- Pain or tenderness that continues after a skin bruise has disappeared.
- A change of skin color.
- Joint pain near impact zone.
- Joint inflammation.
- Joint stiffness.
- Within 1 or 2 days, the hemoglobin (an iron-containing substance that carries oxygen) in the blood changes and your bruise turns bluish-purple or even blackish. After 5 to 10 days, the bruise turns greenish or yellowish. Then, after 10 or 14 days, it turns yellowish-brown or light brown.
- A bruise is essentially a traumatic injury to the muscles and soft tissue an area. Therefore, the blood is visible under the skin and therefore we see the classic bruise. Sometimes however, the blood is not visible under the skin -- either because the damage is deeper or the skin just is thicker in that area.
- A tailbone injury can be very painful and slow to heal. Healing time for an injured tailbone depends on the severity of the injury. If you have a fracture, healing can take between 8 to 12 weeks. If your tailbone injury is a bruise, healing takes about 4 weeks.
Treatment for a bone bruise may include:
- Resting the bone or joint.
- Applying ice to the area several times a day.
- Raising the injury above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
- Medicine to reduce pain and swelling.
- Wearing a brace or other device to limit movement, if needed.
- In most cases, it takes from 6 to 8 weeks for a stress fracture to heal. More serious stress fractures can take longer. Although it can be hard to be sidelined with an injury, returning to activity too soon can put you at risk for larger, harder-to-heal stress fractures and an even longer down time.
- In some cases, the signs of a stress fracture may not show up on an X ray for as long as four or five weeks or may never show up on a conventional X ray. Other forms of imaging, including bone scans, CT scans and MRIs, may detect a stress fracture that does not show up on conventional X rays.
- A stress fracture typically feels like an aching or burning localized pain somewhere along a bone. Usually, it will hurt to press on it, and the pain will get progressively worse as you run on it, eventually hurting while walking or even when you're not putting any weight on it at all.
Updated: 26th October 2019