ZocdocAnswersDoes a really bad bruise mean that I could have a fracture?

Question

Does a really bad bruise mean that I could have a fracture?

The bone that moves along the outside of my right arm got hit and now there is a really bad bruise that is so sensitive. If it gets touched it is just so bad. Does that mean it is actually a fracture? Does a bruise that hurts that much mean that you have a fracture?

Answer

Bruising is more of a sign that there was extensive soft tissue damage with leaking of the smallest blood vessels into the surrounding tissue than it is that there is a fracture. That being said, bigger bruises are often indicative of more trauma, and more trauma obviously makes a patient more prone to actually having a fracture. While some pain is to be expected after any trauma, the key is to always know that you should see a doctor if you have any questions. Usually a quick examination, or at most, an x-ray, will help to clarify that there is no actual break in the bone, and will give patients some peace of mind. If you are concerned, or are experiencing pain out of proportion to what would be expected, please see your doctor. In addition to a fracture, there are other medical emergencies that can happen from trauma, some of which involve the muscles and the soft tissue, and the swelling that occurs when there is too much bruising in an area. While this is somewhat rare, it is an important and serious complication that should be treated quickly if it is present. Please see your doctor to discuss your problem.

This answer 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 or (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.