What Are the Signs of a Bruised Tibia?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 February 2019
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The tibia is a bone in the lower leg on humans, often known as the shin bone, and it is one of the strongest weight-bearing bones in the body. It is also one of the most commonly bruised bones, since athletic activities often involves obstacles that can come in contact with the shins. A bruised tibia occurs when capillaries in the skin or bone of the tibia become damaged, allowing for swelling and minor internal bleeding. The signs that a bruised tibia has occurred include discoloration of the skin, tenderness or pain in the affected area, and swelling.

The most notable indicator of a bruised tibia, aside from pain of course, is bruising. The area that has been impacted will change colors as the tissue is damaged; this discoloration may take place immediately after the impact, or it may develop over time. The area in and around the discoloration is likely to be tender or even painful to the touch, depending on the severity of the bruised tibia. If the bone has become bruised, the impact was usually quite severe and the pain will be more intense. A person suffering from a bruised tibia may experience discomfort or pain when weight is placed on the leg.


Swelling may also occur when a bruised tibia is present in the leg. Blood may essentially pool around the injury, leading to what is known as a hematoma. Severe hematomas can be extremely dangerous and should be examined by a doctor, though minor hematomas may produce little or no real risk. It is best to get the injury examined by a doctor if the injured person is unsure of the severity of the injury. In some cases, light massaging of the affected area can reduce pain, and first aid for the injury includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation, known as the RICE treatment.

If the pain is persistent or severe, a bone fracture may have occurred and medical attention will be necessary. This commonly occurs when the force from impact was severe. A fracture may be minor and only require immobilization and the RICE treatment, though more severe fractures can cause complications such as internal bleeding or nerve damage, and attention from a doctor will be necessary. The most severe instances of a fracture may require a surgery that repairs the bones with screws or plates.


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Post 8

Skateboarding + bruised tibia = no fun.

Post 7

My partner has just come back from a football match and has severe bruising and swelling around the tibia. He says it causes him pain to move his foot and when he moves his toes. Is this something that should be taking to his GP?

Post 6

Nine days ago I took a major fall and landed on my proximal tibia. Twelve hours later as I watched in agony, a massive hematoma appeared within 30 seconds. I could not even walk after that. The diagnosis was bruised tibia. How can I possibly put compression on this bone when even air hurts it?

Post 5

If you put ice on a bruised tibia right after you injure yourself, then the swelling and bruising won't be quite as bad. I generally put ice on all my injuries, and I seem to fare better than those who don't.

My friend had a spoiled child who was never disciplined, and this kid took a baseball bat to my shin one day. It's amazing how much force can be behind a six-year-old boy's swing. I had to have someone else go to the house and bring me a bag of ice, because I couldn't walk.

While there was some swelling and bruising, there wasn't nearly as much as there would have been naturally. No matter where I am when I get injured, I try to get ice on the area as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the less it will help.

Post 4

I think I must have bruised my tibia as a child, because I remember having a run-in with the sharp edge of a brick step that left me bruised and in pain for a long time. I still have the scar from it, and a small chunk of skin is missing.

I had hit the step so hard that part of my shin sunk in as it healed. The bruise went through so many phases of color and seemed like it would never disappear.

The throbbing pain went on for hours. It was the worst bruise I had ever gotten, and I think that was because I had actually bruised the bone.

Post 3

@giddion – I bruised my tibia in a car accident. I had been sitting in the backseat, and my shin banged into the back of the driver's seat on impact.

At first, I didn't realize I was hurt. My main concern was just getting out of the car quickly. I opened the door and tried to take a step out, but I fell to the ground in agony.

Sharp pains were shooting up through my leg. It felt as if someone were stabbing me in the shin over and over again.

The area was bruised for months, and I could not place pressure on my leg for about three months. I couldn't even touch my shin without feeling pain.

Post 2

I didn't even know it was possible to bruise a bone. That has got to be a seriously painful and tender injury!

I have bumped my shin into everything from the bed post to the shopping cart, but I have only bruised the tissue. Even these bumps hurt badly enough to send me to the floor in anguish, so I can't even imagine how badly a bone bruise must hurt.

Has anyone here ever bruised your tibia? How long did it take for the pain to go away?

Post 1

I slipped on ice and bruised my shin bone over a year ago. It still has discoloration. What's up? There's no pain now, but will the discoloration ever go away?

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