Bruised Knuckles: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, & More

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on September 19, 2022

Bruised knuckles happen when you hit your hand against something hard. The impact causes the small, delicate bones in your hand to break or crack. The bones may also push into the soft tissue surrounding them, causing bruising and swelling.

Bruised knuckles can be painful and make it difficult to move your hand or fingers. In some cases, the swelling can make it difficult to close your hand into a fist. You may also notice that your skin looks different where you were injured. The bruise may be dark purple, blue, or green in color.

If you have a bruised knuckle, it’s important to ice the area as soon as possible to reduce swelling. You should also wrap the area with an elastic bandage to support it and keep the swelling down.


There are a few different things that can cause bruised knuckles. One is if you hit something hard with your hand, like a wall or a door. Another is if you get hit in the hand with something, like a ball or a fist. And finally, if you fall and land on your hands, that can also cause bruised knuckles.

The most common cause of bruised knuckles is probably accidentally hitting something hard. It’s easy to do when you’re not paying attention, and sometimes all it takes is a slight tap to leave a nasty bruise. If you’re playing sports or working out, you’re also more likely to accidentally hit something and bruise your knuckles.

Knocking into things can also cause bruises under the skin without breaking any bones. This type of bruise is called a contusion and usually isn’t serious.


There are a few symptoms associated with bruised knuckles. The first and most obvious symptom is pain. This pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation. It is usually worse when pressure is applied to the area or when the area is moved. The second symptom is swelling. This can range from a small amount of puffiness to large, noticeable lumps. The third symptom is bruising. This appears as black-and-blue marks on the skin and can be quite tender to the touch. In some cases, there may also be a small amount of bleeding from the impacted area. If you have any of these symptoms, it is best to see a doctor so that they can rule out any other potential injuries.


There are a few tests that can be done in order to diagnose bruised knuckles. One test is called an x-ray. This test can show if there are any broken bones in the hand. Another test is called an MRI. This test can show if there is any damage to the tendons or ligaments in the hand. The last test is called a CT scan. This test can show if there is any damage to the bones or soft tissue in the hand.

Bruised Knuckles


When you have bruised knuckles, the best thing you can do is ice them. You should ice your knuckles for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. You can also take ibuprofen to help reduce pain and swelling. If your knuckles are still swollen and painful after a few days, you may need to see a doctor. They may prescribe physical therapy or give you a corticosteroid injection. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to fix the underlying issue.


There are a few things you can do to prevent bruised knuckles. One is to wear gloves when you are working with your hands. This will help protect your skin from getting scraped or scratched. Another is to be careful when you are using tools. Make sure you are using the correct size and type of tool for the job. This will help to avoid slips and accidental contact with sharp objects. Finally, if you know you are going to be doing something that could potentially cause bruising, such as boxing or kickboxing, wrap your hands in tape or padding to help protect them.

Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for developing bruised knuckles, including:

-Repeated trauma to the hands: This can occur from activities such as boxing, kickboxing, or martial arts.

-Occupational hazards: People who work in occupations that involve repetitive hand motions or exposure to vibrating machinery are at increased risk of developing bruised knuckles.

-Age: As we age, our skin becomes thinner and more fragile, making us more susceptible to bruising.

-Certain medical conditions: Conditions that affect blood clotting, such as hemophilia, can increase the risk of bruising.


Bruised knuckles can lead to a number of complications, including:

-Infection: When the skin is broken, there is a risk of bacteria entering the wound and causing an infection. Infected bruises can be painful and may require treatment with antibiotics.

-Abscess: An abscess is a pocket of pus that can form at the site of a bruise. Abscesses are usually caused by infections, but can also occur without an infection. They can be painful and may need to be drained by a doctor.

-Cyst: A cyst is a closed sac that contains fluid or semisolid material. Cysts can form under the skin and may be filled with pus, blood, or other fluids. Cysts are usually not painful but can become tender if they become infected.

When to see a doctor?

If you have bruised your knuckles, you may be wondering when you should see a doctor. The answer depends on the severity of the bruising and whether or not you have any other symptoms.

If the bruising is severe, or if you have any other symptoms such as pain, swelling, or numbness, you should see a doctor right away. These could be signs of a more serious injury such as a fracture.

If the bruising is mild and there are no other symptoms, you can probably wait to see a doctor. However, if the bruising does not improve after a few days or if it starts to spread, you should make an appointment to see your doctor just to be safe.


Bruised knuckles are a common injury, especially for athletes and manual laborers. While the pain and swelling can be significant, the injury is usually not serious and will heal on its own with time. Ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain medications can help to relieve symptoms. If the pain is severe or does not improve after a few days, it is important to see a doctor to rule out other possible causes.

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on September 19, 2022

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