The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Bone Bruise Recovery Time

Posted by on Tuesday, July 16th, 2013


A bone bruise can be incredibly painful. The term “bone bruise” is actually a bit of a misnomer, since it’s actually a fracture in the innermost layer of the bone. The external layer of bone is very organized, solid and strong. Injuries to the outer bone may be called “occult” or “stress” fractures. The cancellous inner bone is spongy and arranged in an irregular mesh that could take longer to heal. This type of injury usually occurs as the result of repetitive stress, trauma or injury.

How Long Does It Take For A Bone Bruise To Heal?

The recovery time for a bone bruise seen on MRI is typically two to three months. The best things you can do during this time is to take it easy, continue to use a wrap or brace, ice every 20 minutes as necessary, and elevate each night. Whatever you do, don’t let it get hit again! Athletes may find it beneficial to work with a personal trainer to maintain strength and skill, without the possibility of re-injuring the bone during scrimmages. We’ve seen cases of bones that remain bruised for a whole year, but this is typically the exception, rather than the rule.

Why Do Some Bone Contusions Take A Year To Heal?

  • Pressure on the muscle from bleeding and swelling can cause compartment syndrome and permanent nerve damage if untreated.
  • Hematomas (swollen blood clots) can delay recovery time and return of function following blunt force trauma.
  • Infections, cellulitis or poor circulation can all interfere with a bone contusion recovery.
  • Repeated injury and poor nutrition during recovery can delay healing to the injury as well.
  • Bone bruises that were not elevated, iced and immobilized right away will see a longer recovery.
  • We find most people try to do too much too quickly and re-injure themselves before healing is complete.
  • Different people heal at different times, simply put.

How To Deal With Bone Bruise Pain

Most people hate to hear this, but the best way to ensure a speedy recovery is to take it easy for several months. Avoid strenuous exercise. Instead, opt for low-impact swimming or physical therapy work. A podiatrist can recommend padded socks, comfortable recovery shoes, and custom insoles that will make your healing time bearable. You can ask your doctor about pain relief, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, which may help alleviate some of the pain.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.