A bruised bone can be serious in that it typically takes longer to heal and is usually much more painful than a muscle bruise. To find out if an injury is truly a bone bruise, consult a medical professional and follow their course of treatment. In addition, there are a few things you can do on your own to support the healing process.
Risk Factors for a Bruised Bone
A bone bruise occurs when some tissues that reside inside the bone become damaged. Not all of them are damaged, however – otherwise that would result in a broken bone. Symptoms usually include discoloration of the skin as well as deeper pain in the area of the injury. The discomfort from a bone bruise can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the extent of the injury.
The most common reason a bruised bone occurs is a sports-related injury. This can include an impact, such as hitting the ground with your knee or inadvertently hitting your elbow on someone’s head during a game of pickup basketball. But it can also include wear-and-tear on bones and joints. You could also bruise a bone simply by accidentally hitting your arm on a door or wall or running into a table with your knee or foot.
If you have a condition known as osteonecrosis you will be at a higher risk of developing a bone bruise. This condition weakens bones because it disrupts the amount of blood that can get to them. Arthritis can also make people more prone to bruised bones, because it damages the protective cartilage that helps protects bones from injury.
The areas of the body that are most commonly affected include the knee, heel, ankle, shin, hip, foot, elbow, and wrist.
First, See Your Doctor
You should always see a doctor if you have suffered a bone bruise to make sure you haven’t actually broken a bone. Your doctor will take an X-ray of the injury to make sure no fractures have occurred. This is extremely important, because if you do have a fracture and it’s not treated properly, several serious complications could occur.
If it is “only” a bruise, your doctor will very likely recommend you get plenty of rest in order to take pressure off of the injured area and reduce the chances that any complications will occur. He or she will also probably suggest you take an over-the-counter pain reliever. You can also try applying some ice to the area two or three times a day to help with pain. Just remember never to put ice directly on the skin, because that could lead to substantial damage to sensitive tissues. Wrap ice cubes in a cloth or a towel first.
In some cases, a doctor will recommend the use of a brace in order to provide support to the injured tissues as well as minimize pressure. This will help strengthen the injured area, reduce pain, and help hasten healing.
Healing Tip No. 1 – What You Eat
You might not think that the food you eat could play a role in how fast you heal from a bruised bone, but it can actually make quite a difference. For example, eating more leafy greens can help ensure your blood will be able to clot properly, thanks to their vitamin K content. These foods, and others rich in vitamin K, can also help increase the density of bone and reduce the risk of infection.1
Another good thing you can do in order to help speed healing is to eat more fruit, which is rich in vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid). This vitamin helps form collagen in the body, which is crucial in helping to heal bone damage. 2 Try to increase your intake of strawberries, kiwi, guava and papaya, as well as citrus fruits.
Healing Tip No. 2 – Use Dietary Supplements
The only issue with eating foods that can help heal bone bruises is that, in some cases, you’d have to eat a lot of them in order to gain any benefits. That’s why you may want to consider taking certain supplements that have shown promise in helping to speed the healing process.
For example, bromelain is a supplement that contains enzymes found in papaya as well as pineapples – fruits that have been shown to help your body reduce inflammation and absorb protein.3 However, as with all supplements, you should speak to your doctor before taking them to make sure they won’t adversely interact with any medications you may be taking, such as blood thinners, sedatives, or antibiotics.
Boron is another supplement that can help the body heal faster from a bruised bone by working with calcium to help strengthen bone. 4 While it is found naturally in a wide range of foods such as plums, oranges, grapes, nuts, and beans, it can be difficult to get enough boron in your diet without overeating.
The Bottom Line
While there are several foods and supplements that have been shown to help the body heal faster from a bone bruise, you should still see a doctor to make sure you haven’t suffered a more serious injury. It’s also important that you rest as much as possible to avoid putting the injured area under any unnecessary stress or pressure.
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