ZocdocAnswersIs a hairline fracture the same thing as a bone bruise?

Question

Is a hairline fracture the same thing as a bone bruise?

Went to the doctor with pain in my thigh and he said I probably have a bone bruise. Is this the same thing as a hairline fracture? Does the bone break when you have a bone bruise? The doctor didn't seem to think I had to do anything but rest.

Answer

A bone bruise is an injury to the bone from a fall or injury that causes bleeding and swelling inside the bone tissue but that does not result in an actual fracture. In this way it is different from a hairline fracture, which is an actual fracture that does not result in displacement of the pieces of the bone. In reality, it can be very difficult to distinguish a bone bruise from other injuries, such as contusions of the muscle (muscle bruises) or sprains. All of these can cause severe pain and swelling. If the pain occurs around a joint with swelling, it is more likely to be a sprain. If there is a palpable "knot" then it is more likely to be a muscle bruise. If there is neither of these, then it is more likely to be a bone bruise. The first step when evaluating a bone bruise is to take an x-ray to make sure there is not fracture. If there is no fracture, then the treatment involves rest, ice to the affected area, and lots of anti inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen to help relieve the swelling and pain. I hope you are feeling better soon!

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