Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Can you still have a bruise if there is no discoloration on your skin?"

ZocdocAnswersCan you still have a bruise if there is no discoloration on your skin?


I knocked my thigh really hard on this pole that was sticking up in a parking lot. It is really sore but there is no discoloration on my skin. Is this still just a bruise? Is it a bruise or a contusion? Are they the same thing?


It sounds like your accident is causing a significant amount of pain! Hopefully you will be feeling better soon. Your question is a good one, and regardless of the specific words used it sounds like the incident with the pole is definitely the cause of your pain. In a strict medical sense, the words bruise and contusion can be used interchangeably--they both refer to a blunt force injury to organs or tissues, including the skin or subcutaneous soft tissue (more often referred to as a bruise) or internal organs or muscles. Muscle contusions are actually very common sports injuries, and when the muscle that is injured is deep, you may well develop pain and swelling without the visible color changes associated with disruption of blood vessels within the skin. In general, muscle contusions will heal over time, but the affected area may be sore for a while. To make sure that you haven't developed a more serious injury that would require further intervention, it is best to see your primary care physician as soon as possible. Depending upon your injury, physical therapy may actually be very helpful to assist with stretching exercises or therapeutic modalities including heat/ice or ultrasound to help aid healing.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.