What are Bone Bruises?


Everyone has developed bruises over the course of their lives. We all have experienced the discoloration and felt the jolt of pain when the tender bruise is touched, even in the slightest way. But what happens when these bruises occur deeper than just underneath the skin?

Bone marrow edemas, or bone bruises, can develop after an injury or traumatic blow to a part of the body. Generally, when a blood vessel breaks near the surface of the skin, blood leaks into the tissues under the skin and creates a bruise. These bruises can occur deeper within the bones as well. Some symptoms of a bone bruise include:

  • Swelling
  • Change of skin color
  • Joint pain near the impact zone
  • Joint inflammation and stiffness
  • Pain or tenderness that continues after a skin bruise has disappeared

Bone bruises may lead to bone marrow changes that decrease blood flow, increase severe inflammation, and produce fluid inside of the bones. They are the most serious and painful bruises that a person can have, and usually are viewed as the stage before a fracture. Bone bruises can involve swelling and bleeding of the central cavity, between the cartilage and the bone underneath, or beneath the membrane covering the bone’s surface. Because of the severity, bone bruises typically take a couple of months to fully heal, if not longer.

If symptoms persist and pain gets worse over time, is important to seek medical attention. Contact AOSMI to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible if you suspect that you have sustained a bone bruise.