Bone Bruise or Contusion

Published: December 4, 2013
Last reviewed: March 8, 2017

What is a bone bruise?

A bone bruise is a localized collection of blood within the bone caused by a bone contusion 1,6.

  • Most common in the knee and ankle
  • Joint pain, swelling
  • Not visible on X-ray; an MRI required for diagnosis
  • Treatment with splints and analgesics
  • Recovery time: several months

What is a bone contusion?

A bone contusion is any compression injury of the bone, which is usually associated with a bone bruise.

What is a subperiosteal hematoma?

A subperiosteal hematoma is a collection of blood between the periosteum and the bone, which is also commonly referred to as bone bruise.

What is bone marrow edema?

Bone marrow edema is an area of changed density on the MR image that reflects either a traumatic bone bruise or a nontraumatic collection of the fluid within the bone.

NOTE: Bone bruise, bone contusion and bone marrow edema are often used as synonyms 6,8,9,10.

Types of Bone Bruise

  • A. Intraosseous bleeding 
  • B. Subperiosteal hematoma


Intraosseous bleeding [intra = within; os = bone] is what is most commonly referred to as bone bruise and what is the main part of this article.

Medical Definition

A bone bruise is a localized collection of blood within a bone associated with a fracture of the inner, spongy layer, but not the outer cortical layer of the bone, caused by an acute trauma 9,10.


Acute trauma due to:

  • The impact of the two bones in the joint or
  • Direct blow to the joint

Bone bruises are common in football, soccer, basketball and hockey players, in those who practice martial arts, in runners who run on hard surfaces; other common causes are falls and car accidents 1,6.

Symptoms and Signs

  • Swelling of the joint and, sometimes, one or more skin bruises, which do not result from a bone bruise but from injured ligaments, tendons, muscles and skin
  • Pain in the affected joint, which persists after the skin bruise ceases.
  • References 6,10

The Knee

bone bruise knee mri 2

Picture 1. An MRI of a bone bruise in the knee
See the white patch in the upper tibia
(source:, Creative Commons License)

  • Causes and mechanism. Sudden stop of running (deceleration), hard landing on a foot with slightly bent knee or direct side blow to the knee can result in the impact of the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia) in the knee, what can cause a bone bruise in the lower part of the thighbone (lateral femoral condyle) and/or in the upper part of the shinbone (tibial plateau). Such an injury is often associated with a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), or medial (MCL) or collateral ligament in an athlete’s knee 1,4,6.
  • Pain and swelling arise from an injury of the soft tissues in the knee joint and not from a bone bruise 6.
  • Healing time. Most bone bruises associated with the anterior cruciate ligament rupture heal in 60 days, but the healing time may be as long as 2 years 10,30,41.
  • Recovery time. Most athletes who suffer from anterior cruciate ligament injury return to full sports activities within 6 months 6. The presence of a bone bruise does not seem to affect the recovery time 6.

Patella Dislocation and Bone Bruise

Side (lateral) dislocation of the patella can cause a bone bruise in the thighbone (in the lateral femoral condyle) and at the bottom of the patella 6.

The Ankle

A bone bruise in the ankle (in the lower part of the tibia or/and in the talus bone) can occur after an ankle sprain (supination injury after landing on an outward rolled foot with the outer edge of the foot bearing weight) 1,4. Pain after an ankle sprain usually ceases after 4-6 weeks; the presence of the bone bruise usually does not add to the pain and does not prolong the recovery time, which is about 3 months 28. In some individuals, a deep ankle pain during or after exercise may persist for some time. On an MR image, a bone bruise in the ankle can sometimes be seen even after 17 months, though 28.

bone bruise ankle talus mri

Picture 2. An MRI of a bone bruise in the ankle
A white area in the back of the talus bone
(source:, Creative Commons License)

Other Common Sites

  • Heel bone (calcaneus) after landing on the heels; partial weight-bearing for about 4 months may be required 32  
  • The ball of the foot 33
  • Calf bone (fibula) in the part closer to the knee 18
  • Hip (the femoral head) 5
  • Pelvic bones: the ileal or pubic bone 34
  • Collarbone (clavicle) 36
  • Shoulder blade (scapula) 39
  • Shoulder: the head of the long bone (humerus) in the arm 38
  • Elbow 40
  • Wrist bones (hamate) 37
  • Spine (vertebra) 31

Types of Interosseous Bleeding Based on MRI

Type 1:  Reticular Bone Bruise

A reticular bone bruise is limited to the medullary bone, is distant from the cortical bone and not connected to the joint surface; it is usually mild and scarce 25.

 bone bruise ankle talus image mri  reticular bone bruise image

  Picture 3. Reticular bone bruise in the ankle
a) An MRI of a reticular bone bruise in the front of the talus bone (arrow)
b) Bone cracks in the medullary but not in cortical bone
dark grey = medullary bone; light grey = cortical bone
blue = cartilage; white = joint space
(source: PubMed Central, Creative Commons license)

Type 2: Geographic Bone Bruise

A geographic bone bruise is bigger and denser than a reticular bruise and situated closer to the cortical bone; it can bulge into the joint space (see Picture 4) 25.

geographic bone bruise image

Picture 4. Geographic bone bruise
Dark grey = medullary bone; light grey = cortical bone
blue = cartilage; white = joint space
(source: PubMedCentral, Creative Commons license)

geographic bone bruise knee mri image

Picture 5. An MRI of a large geographic bone bruise in the knee
(the large white area in the lateral femoral condyle)
(source:, Creative Commons license)

Type 2a: Osteochondral Fracture

When a geographic bone bruise communicates with a joint, it is called osteochondral fracture 6. The damaged cartilage may need up to 1-2 years to heal 6.

Type 3: Impaction Bone Bruise

After an impact of the two bones in the joint, for example, the tibia and femur in the knee, a depression of the articular surface and bone bruises on the both bones can form; this is called a  “kissing contusion” 4,9.

kissing contusion knee mri

Picture 6. An MRI of a kissing contusion in the knee.
The upper bone bruise is in the thighbone (femur) and the lower in the shinbone (tibia)
(source:, Creative Commons license)


  • An X-ray can detect the real bone fracture but NOT an intraosseous bleeding (bone bruise within the bone) 25.
  • A CT also cannot detect intraosseous bleeding 25.


Currently, only Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can detect bruises within the medullary bone:

  • T1-weighted MRI shows a bone bruise as an area of decreased intensity 10.
  • T2-weighted fat-suppressed MRI or MRI with Short T1 Inversion Recovery [STIR] sequences shows the area of increased intensity 10.

A bone bruise can be detected by an MRI as soon as 1-30 hours after an injury 41.

Differential Diagnosis

Other conditions that can resemble a bone bruise:

  • Overuse or stress or insufficiency fracture due to repetitive microtrauma
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Subchondral cyst
  • Periarticular bone infarction
  • Bone tumor/cancer, lymphoma, multiple myeloma
  • Bone inflammation (polyarthritis, reactive arthritis) or infection (bacterial arthritis, osteomyelitis)
  • Osteopenia: scarce bone in malnourished individuals or those with anorexia nervosa
  • Paget’s disease
  • Gaucher’s disease
  • Algodystrophy
  • Intraosseous ganglion cyst
  • Idiopathic transient bone marrow lesion syndrome
  • Post-operative lesion
  • Red marrow hyperplasia
  • Intraosseous hematoma in individuals with bleeding disorders 26
  • References 6,10


First Aid:

  • Elevate the affected limb
  • Put ice packs wrapped in the cloth over the affected joint for 5-10 minutes, few times a day for 1-2 days.
  • Reference 37

Treatment Options:

  • Rest, avoiding bearing weight on the affected limb; use of crutches or a cane as long as walking causes pain
  • Splint (brace)
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers and remedies to reduce pain and swelling
    • Nonsteroidal antirheumatic drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
  • Physical therapy: nonbearing exercises to maintain full motion and prevent stiffness of the joint
  • Avoiding smoking — nicotine delays wound healing 2
  • Reference 6,10

There seems to be a lack of studies about the effectiveness of the following therapies on the bone bruise healing:

  • Microcurrent therapy
  • Kinesiology (kinesio) taping
  • Acupuncture
  • Vitamin A, C, K, and bromelain supplements

Healing and Recovering Time

Healing time is the time in which an evidence of a bone bruise disappears from an MR image. The healing time for most bone bruises in the knee is about 2 months bat can be as long as 2 years 10,30,41 and for the bone bruises in the ankle about 12 months or more 28. Reticular bone bruises heal fastest, followed by geographic and impaction bruises 6,10,30. Healing time is longer in older individuals and those with the knee osteoarthritis 30.

bone bruise knee tibia

Picture 7. MRIs showing the healing of a bone bruise in the knee
(A) A bone bruise in the tibia soon after the injury
(B) After 3 weeks
(C) Complete healing after 9 weeks
(source:, Creative Commons license)

Recovery time is the time in which an injured person can return to his or her usual activities. Recovery time can be shorter or longer than the bruise healing time and depends on the associated joint damage. The recovery time for most individuals with a bone bruise in the knee is shorter than 6 months and for those with a bruise in the ankle is about 3 months 19.


Possible complications of intraosseous bleeding:

  • Stiffness of the affected joint 10
  • Osteoarthritis, especially after a geographic bone bruise 4.
  • Avascular necrosis 10.


A subperiosteal hematoma is a collection of blood between the periosteum and the cortical bone 1,20.

Subperiosteal Hematoma in the Shinbone (Bruised Shin)

A subperiosteal edema in the shinbone usually results from a direct blow to the shins, commonly in those who practice martial arts and in football players. Symptoms include pain, bluish discoloration of the skin (from a skin bruise) and tender swelling, which usually start to diminish in 2-3 days, but can often persist for several months 47. Investigations are usually not needed; in doubtful cases diagnosis can be confirmed by ultrasound, X-ray or CT 48. A bone bruise in the shinbone should not be confused with shin splints.

Treatment includes rest, elevation of the leg above the level of the heart, avoiding bearing weight on the leg, ice packs for 10-15 minutes several times a day for 1-2 days, and painkillers 24,47. A subperiosteal hematoma can get calcified and the new bone tissue can form 46,49.

The Eye Orbit

A subperiosteal hematoma in the orbit (usually in the orbital roof) can appear days, weeks or even years after blunt trauma to the eye; other causes include weightlifting, violent vomiting, labor, sinusitis, panic attack or scuba diving 20,21. It most commonly occurs in young males 20. A spontaneous hematoma can appear in individuals with hemophilia, leukemia or scurvy 20. Symptoms include protrusion of the eye and blurred vision that worsens over the days. Spontaneous healing is possible 29. Treatment may include intravenous antibiotics, steroids, aspiration or surgery 20.

The Skull

A subperiosteal hematoma in various skull bones can appear in newborns and rarely in older individuals with various bleeding disorders. Symptoms may include skin bruises anywhere in the body and a bulge on the scalp. A hematoma can resolve spontaneously, and if not, it can be punctured. If not treated within one month it may lead to ossification, which requires surgical removal 23.

Other Sites for Subperiosteal Hematoma

Pelvic bone (iliac or pubic bone): after a blunt or penetrating trauma 22.

Tailbone (coccyx): pain can last for several weeks or, rarely, it can become chronic — in this case, surgery can be considered. Sitting on doughnut cushions can help to prevent pain 43

coccyx (tailbone) bruise picture

Picture 8. Tailbone bruise (coccyx hematoma)
(source:, Creative Commons license)

  • Collarbone (clavicle) 35
  • Ribs or breastbone (sternum); may be hard to distinguish from a rib fracture; hematoma can be detected by ultrasound; pain may last for 2-4 weeks 44,45.
  • Forearm 37

What is a deep bone bruise?

The term deep bone bruise may be used for a bruise within the medullary bone (intraosseous bleeding) as opposed to a subperiosteal hematoma, which is a superficial bone bruise.

Bone Bruise vs Real, Stress and Occult Fracture

  • In a real bone fracture, both the cortical bone (the outer layer) and the medullary bone (the inner layer) are completely broken with the bone parts separated, what can be seen on an X-ray.
  • In a stress fracture due to repeated trauma, both the cortical and medullary bone are broken, but the bone parts on the both sides of the fracture do not split. A stress fracture can sometimes be detected by an X-ray, and if not, an MRI can be used 15.
  • In an occult bone fracture, both the cortical and medullary bone are broken, but the fracture line is so thin that it is not detected by an X-ray 3. The occult bone fracture that involves the bone and the cartilage and makes a communication between a bone bruise and the joint is called osteochondral fracture 6.
  • In a bone bruise, only the medullary bone is broken and the cortical bone remains intact. A bone bruise cannot be detected by an X-ray or CT but only by an MRI 3.


Bone marrow edema is a term used to describe nonspecific changes of the density on the MRI image of the bone, which can include bone bruise (blood collection), true edema (fluid collection), or localized inflammation. Nontraumatic bone marrow edema can be associated with various bone disorders:

The Wrist and Hand

  • In rheumatoid arthritis, a bone marrow edema in the wrist is an early sign; it appears before rheumatoid factor 16 and is a bad prognostic sign 10,17.

The Foot

  • Bone marrow edema-like syndrome (BMES) of the foot and ankle:
    • Younger patients with pain in the foot or ankle, without a known cause
    • Conservative treatment with splints may help.

The Hip

  • Avascular necrosis of the femoral neck 10
  • Transient osteoporosis of the hip (TOH) in women in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy or in middle-aged men 10,11
    • Main symptom: severe, disabling pain in the lateral thigh, no tenderness
    • Can be treated solely with analgesics
    • Heals completely after delivery

The Spine

  • In spondyloarthritis, a bone marrow edema can be the first finding on an MRI 10.

Reactive Bone Marrow Edema

Reactive bone marrow edema refers to changes in the MR image caused by a response of the bone tissue to inflammation and may be caused by:

  • Benign and malign bone tumors
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteitis
  • Osteoarthritis (edema is a bad prognostic sign)
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Transient bone marrow edema syndrome
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Reference 14

ICD 9 and 10 Code

The ICD 9 code for a bone bruise in general (including interosseous bleeding and a subperiosteal hematoma) is the same as for “contusion, unspecified,” which is 924.9, and the ICD 10 code is T14.9027.

ICD codes by location of contusion:

  • Contusion of hip: ICD 9 = 924.01; ICD 10 = S70.00XA 42
  • Contusion of knee: ICD 9 = 924.11; ICD 10 = S80.00XA 42
  • Contusion of ankle: ICD 9 = 924.21; ICD 10 = S90.00XA 27
  • Contusion of finger: ICD 9 code = 923.3; ICD 10 code = S60.00XA: ICD 10 code for contusion of thumb without nail damage = S60.019.A 50

54 thoughts on “Bone Bruise or Contusion”

  1. Michael Trowbridge says:

    Hell0, How do I find your references? In particular, what is reference #6?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Michael, scroll down to the bottom of the article and click on References

      The ref #6 is

  2. Kristi Hardgrove says:

    Do you have any additional info on #37. I had an MRI and was told I have a bone bruise. I am in a lot of pain and they want to immobilize it for four to six weeks 24/7 …. at least as much as possible with a brace.
    It has been a year with this pain and it seems a long time for what they term a “bruise”. Any additional information would be appreciated.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Kristi, what additional info (#37 ?)? A bone bruise can actually last as long as you mentioned. I which exact bone do you have a bruise and how it happened?

  3. Kaityn says:

    What would the reason be to send someone to get blood work done after an MRI showed a bone bruise on the knee? Was informed they were worried about the large size of the bruise and there was a patchy area. There was no further elaboration on the reason for the blood test.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Kaityn, they could check for an eventual blood clotting disorder, which could be the reason for the large bruise size. Another reason is to rule out bone cancer or some other disorder.

  4. Donna says:

    After a bad fall I had an MRI. No fracture on xrsys) Rheumatologist using ultrasound diagnosed wrist haemarthrosis. He said MRI showed evidence of bone bruising. After 6 wks I expected more healing. Large lump still on back of my hand, expected further 6 wks to heal. Tendons in my wrist ‘snap’ painfully. wrist still aching. Will there be lasting damage?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Donna, bone bruise may need several months to heal. The lump you’ve describe is not from bone bruise but from the swelling of the joints in the wrist. You may want to ask a doctor if a steroid injection would help. It is possible that your wrist will heal completely, but you probably need to give it more time.

  5. Columbusgal says:

    My 76 year-old mother was diagnosed with a “very large and bad bone bruise” of the left knee, along with an ACL tear and tears in her meniscus. She had a scope but continued to have significant pain and swelling. Four weeks after her scope (right and left side of her meniscus were removed) we took her back in due to ongoing pain and swelling. The MRI showed avascular necrosis with collapse of her bone on the outside of her left knee. She will have a total knee replacement tomorrow. Could the avascular necrosis be a direct result of her bone bruising? After the knee replacement, is there any possibility the bone could continue to die? Thank-you for taking the time to answer my questions.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Columbusgal, it is possible that avascular necrosis is a direct result of bone bruise, but they both have developed as a result of an injury if I imagine this right. Avascular necrosis can also develop after an injury without a bone bruise. If the damaged bone will be removed and replaced, I see no reason why would her knee bone continue to die — assuming that surgery will go well and her bones are otherwise healthy.

  6. Joe says:

    Going on almost a year of severe pain after a slip and fall. The MRI shows edema of the bone marrow of the 4th metatarsal. I have had steroid injections, iced, immobilized, cold laser therapy but nothing seems to work. I have been to many doctors but none have been able to give any sort of care plan. Has anyone found something has worked? Getting desperate for something to work.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Joe, this is quite specific question. You may want to join some of health forums to get more ideas.

  7. Mary Helen Moore says:

    I fell on 6/9/16 and injured my R hip and suffered a small labrum tear along with the MRI noting a bruise in the hip area. I also suffered a tibia plateau fx just below the kneecap on my L leg. I am in my late sixties and have an appt to see an Ortho. I was out of State at the time and saw my family MD on 6/24. Can you suggest specific questions I should ask the Ortho about the hip bruise? At the time the ER MD told me to keep active not knowing I had fx’d my L leg so I had been walking on both injuries since 6/9!!!!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Mary Helen, by keeping active the doctor probably meant not to rest in bed, but maybe not walking around too much.

      You may want to ask the orthopedist:
      – What is the exact name of the damage in the femoral head and hip joint (“bone bruise,” “hair fracture” “bone marrow edema” “labrum tear,” etc.)? Write down the answer or ask for a copy of a document with the exact diagnosis.
      – In what time you can expect full recovery? Do not be surprised if it will be “one year.”
      – How active should you be: to walk or not, to have some exercises or not…?
      – Medications to take or avoid?

      Note that when the pain goes awaythis does not already mean that the bone bruise has healed completely (this can be evaluated by another MRI, if necessary).

  8. Val says:

    I hit my ankle one week ago, there was an immediate large haematoma due probably to chlopydegrol and aspirin intake. It is now 10 days later still in a lot of pain and whole foot is swollen. Icing up to 5 times a day the foot cannot bear to be warm

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Val, you may want to check this with a doctor, who might suggest an X-ray to see if any bone is broken.

  9. Renee says:

    Just diagnosed with talus bone marrow edema from recent MRI and instructed on complete non weight bearing of the foot. Initial injury was 4 months ago with hyperextension inversion injury, wore a boot for 5 weeks after injury. How dangerous is this injury and would it be ok to do a 70 mile bike ride in 2 months.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Renee, bone marrow edema heals slowly, so I personally would avoid any extra physical activity for some time (probably 1 year from initial injury). But the doctor should know better.

  10. Susan Anderson says:

    I sprained my left ankle in mid May, within 24 hours foot started turning purple and swelling, quite similar to CRPS, which I experienced in my right arm in 2008. Foot turned green, yellow and all bruising disappeared in about a month. X-rays of foot and ankle negative. I continued to have symptoms of CRPS (on/off swelling, extreme pain, tingling, muscle twitching, extreme cold etc). Finally had MRI mId August, diagnosed 3 bone contusions. Could I have both bone bruise and CRPS? I used crutches for about 6 weeks, foot still hurts quite a bit and most of CRPS symptoms remain. Thank you…

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Susan, bone bruise causes pain and is obviously associated by skin bruising. Bone bruise by itself should not cause temperature changes, muscle twitching and tingling, so you may want visit a neurologist.

  11. Denise says:

    Hi Jan,
    What an awesome forum for those of us with bone bruise questions…and thanks for taking the time to answer them! 🙂
    I suffered a complete ACL tear, high grade/possible complete MCL tear, partial tear of proximal fibular collateral ligament & questionable tear of lateral meniscus with bone contusions in the lateral femoral condyle & lateral tibial metaphysis back in early June. The orthopedic surgeon I finally saw in August felt I had sufficient stability & surgery was not required, just a brace & physiotherapy. I saw him again in late September & his comment was the ACL was healed but the bone bruise was now the biggest issue. He did say this could take upwards of 8 months to heal. I have recently been given the green light to begin running again but am thinking I may be aggravating the bone bruise & thus prolonging it’s healing with such impact. What is your opinion?
    I would like to be able to compete in the World Masters Games in April 2017 but the surgeon says my chances are only 50/50 at this point. 🙁

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Denise, it seems your surgeon is giving you a realistic advice about “8 months” — meaning to avoid any unnecessary strain to the leg in this period. My personal opinion is: do what your inner voice is saying to you – do you feel peace in your heart to go running in April 2017 or not? It’s a yes or no answer. No cheating.

  12. Meg says:

    Hello Jan, I am curious to know if you could suggest any treatments, whether home or via the doctor, to reduce rather extreme swelling in my knee due to a “significant bruise” to my tibia about 2.5 months ago. I have been on resting, keeping the joint wrapped at all times, icing, elevating since the injury and have been on crutches for about 3 weeks now following the diagnosis. I am pain free and have good range of motion by now, but I still have a knee about the size of a softball. I suggested “sucking out the fluid” to the doc and he was quite obviously unimpressed with that idea. Do you have any other ideas about treatment I could ask about at the follow up appointment? Or anything else i can do at home? For reference I am in my 20s and otherwise healthy and very active when both legs are cooperative. Thank you!

    1. Anne says:

      Hi Meg,
      I came across this site having just been diagnosed via MRI with”significant bruising” on three of my ankle/foot bones from a fall in October. I am glad you are on the road to recovery – I have just started!
      I would like to suggest something more herbal or homeopathic to help with your swelling. Obviously you would want to be prudent and choose an option that you are comfortable with, but you might find it effective. For example, I have a long relationship with using yarrow (Achillea millefolium) both internally and externally for fevers and fluid reduction. There are a lot of options in potentially effective plants and in how they are administered (ranging from store bought infusions to at home whole plant preparation).
      I will let you do your own searching if you have interest, but I am a science teacher and can vouch that traditional medicine (I usually do my own preparation) does have a place even alongside more western white coat medical practices. Good luck!

      1. Anne says:

        Another thought: if herbs are a little too non-mainstream, Epsom salts are also a good idea. My doc swears by them and has had me soaking my ankle every night. (A hot water solution helps me.) You could probably do a compress for your knee since it’s a little more difficult to soak the middle of your leg than the end 🙂

  13. Heather Yost says:

    I have been diagnosed with a Bone contusion to the medial condial of my femur after “microfracture” surgery. I am 5 months post-op. The cartilage repair seems to be working well,but I am unable to walk more than 15 minutes without pain. I followed post-op weight bearing restriction exactly as directed by my doctor and PT. Have you seen this type of complication before after “microfracture” and do you have any further suggestions for recovery? Thanks.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Heather, I am not a doctor, so I do not have experience with this. The surgeon who operated you or some other surgeon who knows this can comment if this healing time is normal and if not what could be the problem. Maybe a microfracture did not heal well and is a continuous source of blood in the bone.

  14. Vickie M says:

    I injured the ball of my foot in May 2015 . X-rays at the time showed no injury. I have RA, so my symptoms (though asymetrical) were dismissed as that originally. Unfortuantely, that meant that I did not rest the foot at all when the injury occured (the RA mentality of ‘just get on with it’ kicked in). But an MRI 6 months later revealved bone bruising of the second metatarsal head.

    That was last December and almost a year later I still suffer with daily pain (ranging between a niggle and not being able to put weight on it at all). It feels like a bruise in that it only hurts when pressure is applied (which makes me think that the pain is releated to the original injury rather than the RA). So I was interested to read that a bone bruise can take up to 2 years to fully heal. But my question now is: could having RA be preventing the inury from healing?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Vickie M, I don’t know how much of impact RA could have on a bone bruise. RA occurs in the joint while the bruise is in the bone. I think the more important question is if there is any stress fracture (“hairline” fracture) in the bone, which could be a source of continuous bleeding. A doctor can say if an additional MRI could reveal anything important.

      1. Vickie M says:

        Thanks, Jan. I’m sure you’re right. Interesting article! I’ll probably bring it up during my next meeting with the doc.

  15. Angie Zamora says:

    I had a really bad injury to both shins and had huge “goose eggs” on front of my shins. I didn’t go to the doctor because I could walk, not without tremendous pain. It has been over 6 months and I still have bruising and pain. Is it too late to get treatment?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Angie, it’s not too late, but do not hesitate now. First you need to get an exact diagnosis – is it a bone bruise, tendon injury or something else.

  16. Tiffany Lubke says:

    Good Morning, I fell on February 12th 2016 I did not walk for 14 weeks below is my list of imaging results with my injuries. My question is I have just recently began to work out non weight baring exercises and riding a bike and I am struggling massively my leg is turning purple again when I stand and struggling to get circulation I need exercise so desperately so do I push threw and continue to exercise or do i stop and give it more time? Do I go back to the Ortho?
    There is some bone marrow edema involving the lateral femoral condyle, There is mild thinning and irregularity of the posterior patellar articular cartilage 1. Large joint effusion. 2. Bone contusion in the lateral femoral condyle. 3. Grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament. 4. Mild subluxation of the patella relative to the distal femur. I then 2 days later got 3 DVTs in my calf.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Tiffany, obviously that exercise is currently too much for you. Yes, I suggest you go back to an orthopedician.

  17. Tina Morgan says:

    Hey there, I was diagnosed with a bone bruise to my right lateral side of my ankle OCt.2014. The injury happened from me getting onto a bed and hitting a metal bedframe sticking out 2-4 inches in the middle of the bed, i had shooting pain going UP to the tailbone(stopping at the piriformis muscle), pain driving lifting ankle up and down, heel pain, calf pain, shin pain/muscle pain. Saw an Orthopedic gv me an injection and i felt the coldness rise UP all the way to the piriformis/stopping at the orbutar. It’s been 2 years and I am still having same pain, to now intensified and turned into Piriformis Syndrome. I have positive tinel signs. My groin area hurts constantly, I feel like I have done squats leg, thigh, calf always hot, just recently started to have palputations/thuddering in muscles, random electrical shocks going UP my leg. Going to Pain Mgmnt/Neurologist. Diagnosis lnjury to cutaneous sensory nerve, lower limb, contusion, sural and superficial peroneal neuritis, concerned with me developing CRPS. What do you believe transpired for this to have such horrible pain still after 2yrs and 2mo? Thoughts, suggestions? Thank you so much!!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Tina, this does sound like a neurological issue, but I could make any guesses. A neurologist can test individual nerves. Bone bruise alone causes only localized pain. I suggest you to insist in getting exact diagnosis and proper treatment.

  18. Nabeel Idrees says:

    Hope you are doing well.
    I had a sport injury and was diagnosed as a Bone Bruise in Lateral Femoral Condyle in my left knee, it’s been around 3 weeks I have been using knee immobiliser and resting completely, I used to walk slightly daily to make sure the joint is use to for what it is for, on the other hand I have stiffness as well, I am unable to carry my leg straight or bend it fully. Although I can walk without pain. I am an Engineer and very much worried about my office routine & work, well is there any harm if I join my office and walk more without bracing ??

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Nabeel, I can’t answer exactly, but avoiding weight bearing is very important in bone bruise healing. Ask the orthopedist about it. After some time the orthopedist will probably recommend an MRI to check if the bone bruise has healed or not. Healing time mainly depends on the severity of the injury.

  19. jayne hall says:

    Hi. I’m so glad I found this post. I started with severe pain in the inside of my knee Christmas 2015. Is had some pain when driving but it always went. I then said up and boy did it hurt. The result was horrific pain at the side of my knee. I had Physio, acupuncture, it didn’t help. I them had an MRI i had a cartilage tear in my right knee but also a massive bone edema where the two bones joined. The doctor said he could repair the tear but it wouldn’t improve the pain from the edema so he wasn’t happy to repair the cartilage as it wouldn’t improve my life. I was given a knee brace for 6months to wear to support the knee and seperate the bones. I have just chased it up as the side of the knee seems a lot better, rarely causes pain, but I now have a lot of pain especially on stairs in the knee itself. I’ve just chased up having the cartilage repaired to be told the surgeon said he wasn’t going to repair the cartilage. Not what I was told. I’m restricted at work and they aren’t happy I can’t do my full role. Neither am I. I’ve asked for a second opinion. How can there be a cartilage tear and they now won’t fix it. I could lose my job. Any advice or help would be much appreciated. I’ve waited 6 months expecting the cartilage to be repaired. Now I’m looking at just injections into the knee. What can’t they just repair the cartilage. Everything I’ve read shows bone edemas repair but not cartilage. I’m only 45 With a disabled child. I need to be fully mobile.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Did they tell you they will repair the cartilage later? You may want to avoid many steroid injections, because they can weaken the tissues within the knee joint. I encourage you to seek for 2nd opinion about the cartilage repair – also ask if delaying this repair would make it heal worse. At this point the pain may be still from both the bone edema and cartilage, though.

      1. jayne hall says:

        Hi. Thanks. Have asked for second opinion. First they said i need to wait for edema to go to then repair cartilage. Now they are saying no point repairing the cartilage, all they can offer are injections. My pain has decreased significantly. With paracetamol I am ok most of the time for normal everyday activities. Really worried if they don’t repair the cartilage what damage that wo then do to my knee.

        1. Jan Modric says:

          I can’t reliably answer about cartilage, but ask some doctor specifically about it.

  20. Pamela Moore says:

    I have a shred tear of the peroneous brevis tendon along with a bruise of the dome of the Tallis bone I got by an inversion injury to my ankle. I was placed in a walking boot and 2 weeks later I had a forced dorsiflexion in the boot and bruised the other side of my Tallis bone. I have been in the boot for 2.5 months now. The tendons feels as though it is healing well but the Tallis bone is often still painful and my ankle still has edema if I walk on it much. As a physician I am forced to round on my patients in a wheelchair. My physician is trying to transition me to a figure of eight brace which causes me significant pain. Any thoughts on the persistent pain and edema with weight bearing and why my Tallis injury doesn’t appear to be responding to the non-weight bearing status when my tendon is?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Maybe there is another thing, besides bone bruise, such as stress fracture (hair fracture), that causes pain. Also, a bone bruise causing pain after 2.5 months is not that unusual. On the other hand, bone bruise or stress fracture alone should not cause visible swelling of the soft tissues. So, maybe there is some problem with the ankle joint.

      You may consider to avoid walking completely for a certain period. An MRI can show a stress fracture and the status of the bone bruise.

  21. BHeslop says:

    I have a fairly extensive bone bruise on the lateral condyle on my left knee. It is already more than six weeks old, but I aggravated it 3 weeks ago by a bad decision to try to ski on it.

    I find it is more comfortable if I walk on it than when I use crutches. After using crutches the knee is stiff and feels less stable. So if I “listen to my body” I want to walk on it (with care) instead of using crutches, but do you believe that I am just extending the recovery time by using it at all?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      A doctor would probably recommend avoiding weight bearing. Light knee stretching exercises can prevent stiffness.

  22. Anjali24268 says:

    Hi, so I fell down the stairs and hit my shin very hard. It was numb for about nearly an hour and was very swollen and red. Now, it’s a little less than two weeks, and I just recently tripped and jammed it into a stool… It’s been on and off aching pain, stinging, tightness, and the bruise is clearly visible but all different shades. I’m not sure what to do. The doc said it was a contusion, but should it still be very tender to the touch?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      To check if the bone is (partially) broken, you would need to have an X-ray.

  23. Aneesa says:

    I’ve had a knee bone bruise and a mcl sprain two months ago.
    What kind of physical therapy exercises should I do?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Bone bruise and sprain need rest not exercise.

  24. Kim says:

    1/19/17 I fell and bruised my hip. They said edema in the hip and femoral head. Anyway it is now 3/10/17 not in pain anymore is that a sign that the edema has resolved and can walk around. No pain on weight bearing.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      The absence of pain does not already mean that the bone bruise has healed. It is your doctor who can tell you about walking.

  25. Heather V says:

    Hello it’s been 8 months since I fell and hit my shin on a concrete step resulting in a bone bruise. I still have blue purple and green discoloration in a six-inch area down front of my shin otherwise has healed completely as far as use of leg goes. (If I’m honest, it’s a bit tender when I press on it!) I never had any imaging done. Saw physician day 6….skin infection had developed, antibiotics cleared that up. He didn’t think imaging was needed since I was walking on leg. Any hope of normal skin color returning?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      If the spot is tender it may didn’t heal yet. The persisting bruise may be due to constant underskin bleeding. I suggest you get this checked by a doctor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *