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Athletic Training

Bone Bruise



just like the person with the hockey puck injury. i hit the outside part of my right calf extremely hard (between the knee and ankle. i had an xray and they said it wasn`t broken-possibly a bone bruise. it is now 2 weeks, there`s a hard large bump that hurts and my from the bruise on down is swollen and black and blue (even my foot is swollen. what do i do? i definitely need advice


The term "bone bruise" usually indicates that there is an injury, but that it is not very severe.  However, bone bruises can be painful, somewhat debilitating and linger. 

I suspect that the trauma to your shin lifted the layer of tissue off of the bone (periosteum) and now you have an accumulation of fluid (blood, etc.) which is causing the "hard bump". Most likely, gravity is pulling the swelling that occurred from the injury down towards the ankle/foot. 

I am glad that the xray is normal.  However, you don't indicate which treatments you have done up to this point. I would suggest using ice (either a bag or a frozen ice cup) several times a day. I would also invest in an ace wrap and when not icing or in the shower, keep the wrap in place (start just below the ankle and roll it up to the knee - snug but not so tight as to make your foot fall asleep). I would also perform about 100 ankle pumps throughout the day (simply point your ankle down like you are stepping a gas pedal then bring it up towards your shin). Up and down is equal to one repetition. You should do several sets of 20 during the day and this will help drain the swelling.

You may need to see your healthcare provider to determine if using massage, ultrasound or electric stimulation would help get the swelling out quicker. Also, sometimes the initial xray may not see a hairline fracture, so it would not be out of the question to have a repeat xray taken as well. 

Thank you for your question.  I hope this has been helpful!

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Response by:

Vincent J O'Brien, ATC Vincent J O'Brien, ATC
Head Athletic Trainer
Clinical Instructor at the School of Allied Medical Professions
The Ohio State University