A bone bruise, also known as a contusion, is an injury whose impact goes beyond a visible bruise. It can cause serious damage and need to receive an appropriate diagnosis and treatment to avoid complications.
Bone bruises are different from fractures. Fractures affect the deeper part of your bone while bone bruises occur on the surface of the bone. Due to the injury, bleeding may happen in your bones. Bone bruises can impact any bone in your body but bone closer to the surface like your feet, hands, or other joints, can be more susceptible to a bone bruise.
Left untreated, bone bruises can negatively affect blood circulation and potentially result in fluid buildup in a joint and permanent bone damage. The physical trauma may also have impacted nearby ligaments. A bone bruise may last up to several weeks or months depending on its severity.
Causes of Bone Bruises
Bone bruises usually happen as a result of direct trauma to the bone like during a fall. In certain cases, repeated strain on specific joints may result in bone bruises. Risk factors for bone bruises also include regular sports practice, especially high-impact ones and not wearing adequate protective equipment.
Common Symptoms of Bone Bruises
If you experience any of the following in the area of a visible bruise, it may be a bone bruise:
- Difficulty using a bruised joint
- Decreased strength and mobility
If your symptoms persist for a few days and/or after the visible bruise has disappeared, you should seek medical attention.
What Is the Diagnosis Process for Bone Bruises?
After a physical examination and discussion of your symptoms, your doctor may first recommend x-rays to rule out any possible fractures. If no fractures show up, you likely need an MRI to check for a bone bruise, as it would not appear on an x-ray.
Treatment Options for Bone Bruises
The first step when treating a bone bruise is to address the acute symptoms and alleviate the pain and swelling. This usually involves icing and resting your affected bone or joint. Working with a physical therapist can be especially helpful as they can recommend techniques for pain relief and specific medications if needed. They may also suggest you wear a brace to limit your movement and avoid further injury.
Once your acute symptoms have significantly lessened, your physician can start you on a gradual strengthening program.
A physical therapy plan for a bone bruise typically aims to:
- Rebuild strength
- Increase range of motion and balance
- Improve mobility
- Restore neuromuscular activity
Treatment for a bone bruise can take several months depending on its severity and location. Your doctor can also educate you on which activities to avoid during healing, such as certain physical activities. This helps prevent additional damage in the bone bruise area or sports injuries to which you may be more prone due to your existing trauma.
Your physical therapist can also discuss diet and lifestyle changes to support your recovery. For example, smoking can interfere with your healing process due to its impact on your blood circulation.
Get Medical Attention for Your Bone Bruises at ProFysio Physical Therapy
If you are experiencing bone bruises symptoms, seeking medical treatment as soon as possible can make a positive difference in your recovery. At ProFysio Physical Therapy, our diagnostic process usually involves a careful evaluation of your medical history and current symptoms, as well as a thorough physical examination and testing. We may request medical imaging to have a detailed picture of your musculoskeletal structure to finalize our diagnosis.
We can use a variety of methods and techniques to help you recover from a bone bruise. From recommending how to care for your leg during the rest period to helping you slowly regain strength and mobility on the affected body part. Our team focuses on your safety and health with both in-office sessions and at-home exercises. The combination of both helps you play an active role in your healing. If necessary, we also offer telehealth options.
Do you suspect you may be experiencing a bone bruise? Call ProFysio Physical Therapy today at (732) 812-5200 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment in Monmouth or Middlesex Counties!