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Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What is a bone bruise?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is a bone bruise?

Question

I cracked my elbow hard on a door the other day. Like on the ?funny bone?. Now it hurts all the time. My sis said its a bone bruise, but what is that? I?ve never heard of it.

Answer

A bone bruise is an extremely painful injury on the underlying bone part that leads to swelling and discoloration in the surrounding area. It is a feeling of bone fracture, although there is no broken bone. It is one step prior to a fracture. Human bone is made up of cortex with interconnected fibers which are filled with calcium. When your bone strikes a hard object, such as a door in your case, a few fibers break apart and this results in a bone bruise that causes severe pain in the affected part. When there is the breaking of a large number of fibers, a bone fracture may develop. As well, keep in mind that you might have a bruised bone on skin or muscles, which is not very painful as a bone bruise. I would recommend that you see a primary care doctor who may warrant you a referral to an orthopedics if you continue to have intense pain. Even if you believe it is just a bone bruise, seeking a confirmed diagnosis is important in preventing from further damage. The doctor may order an X-ray to confirm that a fracture is absent and a high-density MRI scan that can detect and image a bone bruise. See your doctor soon.

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