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What is Bone Bruise?

Bones are tissues that continuously break and rebuild in tiny amounts. It is extremely important to keep the bones healthy, they provide a frame to the body, protects vital organs and helps one walk or run. Bones normally reach their peak bone mass by the age of 30. Indians are more at risk of developing bone related diseases due to low peak bone mass, poor calcium and vitamin D deficiency.

A bone bruise is a wound to a bone that is less severe than a fracture. One might have in mind black and blue patches and marks on the skin when the word bruise comes up. Bones and muscles can get bruises too. Bones can get bruised when small blood vessels get damaged by an injury.

Bone is made of different tissues and layers. The deepest layer of the bone gets damaged when a fracture happens, which is quite different from a bruise as only the outer layer of the bone gets injured that might make the blood and fluid to seep into the adjoining blood vessels and tissues. Such an injury might cause haemorrhage and inflammation in the area between your cartilage and the bone beneath it. Bone bruise is a present-day term as Doctors have started ruling out the injury recently with the help of MRI as bone bruise does not show on an X Ray film.

Bone bruises are commonplace and can happen to of any age. Any bone in the body can get bruised, which are normally followed with other injuries where the ligaments around the bruised bone gets damaged too. Injury of any kind can cause bruise the bones for example road traffic accidents, sports injuries such as sprains and twists. Severe arthritis can cause bruise the bones too.

Bone bruise is very painful and lasts longer as compared with soft tissue injury. One should see a doctor if there is fever, pain and inflammation in the area and soft tissues near it, and the following symptoms prevail for long; If there is stiffness and swelling near the injured joint and change in colour of the affected area. Your doctor might prescribe an MRI to rule out bone bruise, and a simple X Ray to find out fractures.

Most bruises heal without any complications. If a bone bruise is big, the body might have problem getting the flow of blood back to the affected area. In rare cases it can cause avascular necrosis of the bone, which leads to death of the affected are of the bone.

The treatment for Bone bruise may include resting the affected area for few weeks to months depending on the size of affected area, application of ice pack repeatedly, lifting the affected area to reduce inflammation, medicines that reduce pain and inflammation. There might be a few over the counter medication, which your doctor might ask to skip as such medicines delay the healing process.

It is misconception to think that age is the only risk causing bone related diseases, such problems can happen to anyone and at any age. To prevent bone bruises one can protect using safety gear while playing sports, riding and driving etc.
One should take proteins, adequate calcium packed diet, dairy products and vitamin D supplements. Such a diet will help in the healing process.

To keep the bones healthy and aid the healing process, it is advised to cut down on alcohol consumption, smoking and caffeine as too much caffeine hinders with body’s capability to absorb calcium, decreasing bone mass.
Exercise is essential for the good bone health, and also the heart, lungs and brain. Running also helps in maintaining weight, lowering cholesterol levels, it reduces stress and depression. Regular exercise also helps in boosting the immunity, maintaining the bone strength, better joint function, keeps the extra kilos under control and improves the overall quality of life.

Dr. Aashish Chaudhry
Managing Director and Sr. Consultant
Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement

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