Periosteal Contusion (Bone Bruise)

A periosteal contusion is also known as a bone bruise. It is bruising of the periosteum or tough thin sheath which surrounds the outer surface of the bone.


What is a bone bruise?

A bone bruise is an injury to the bone, or more likely the periosteum surrounding the bone caused by direct impact or trauma. This might be from a collision with an opponent, being kicked, or being struck by a ball, puck, hockey stick or another sporting implement.

Shin splints periostium

The periosteum is a thin fibrous tissue which is firmly attached to the outer surface of the bone. Trauma damages blood vessels in the periosteum. This results in a haematoma (blood swelling) under the surface. Sometimes this results in lumps and bumps over the injured area. Because there is limited space between the periosteum and the surface of the bone, the haematoma is prevented from spreading.

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What does a bone bruise feel like?

Very painful! Periosteal contusions usually occur in areas where the bone is close to the skin. These include the inside of the shin and bony parts of the hip and elbow. As a result, it has very little protection from soft tissue such as muscle and fat. The periosteum also has plenty of nerve endings which are stimulated resulting in pain.

Hip pointer

A hip pointer is a specific injury caused by impact to the iliac crest along the top surface of the pelvis. This is particularly painful because it affects the cluneal nerve which runs along the top of the iliac crest.

Read more on hip pointer.

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