It sounds like this is a rather significant change from your baseline health status. Whenever you notice this kind of change, particularly when it persists for more than a day or two, the best thing to do is to see your physician right away. In your case, it sounds like it is probably best to start with your primary care physician
. He or she can ask you more questions about your activity or any changes in your routine in the last several days that could have caused these symptoms. It will be important to know if you fell, were carrying heavy objects, or started any new activities (exercise, sports) that could have put additional stress on your arms. Then, it will be very important to examine the arm. You state that it feels like a bruise, but it will be important to note if there are any skin changes or any mobility restrictions. It is also important to note exactly where in the arm you are feeling pain, ie is this the forearm or the upper arm? Does the pain extend into your elbow, shoulder, or wrist? Do any of the tendon insertions into the bone feel tender? Are your reflexes and neurologic exam intact? If there are no skin changes consistent with a true bruise, then you may have developed either an injury
of the bone (such as a stress fracture
) or possibly a tendon or ligament problem. A deep muscle bruise can also sometimes not have any changes visible on the skin. Overall, it is important to start with your primary care physician so that he or she can evaluate you and consider whether further imaging or a referral are important.