Medical Q&As

Bruised shin

I got a bang on my shin (directly on top of a vein) some days ago and almost immediately there was swelling in the area, the size and shape of a golf ball. The swelling subsided over a couple of hours. The area is still very tender and bruised. Because the bang was to a vein, could there be problems? Any risk of a clot? Any problem in air travel over the next month or so?

It sounds as if you did bleed from a vein into the subcutaneous layers in the front of your shin. Such injuries are usually quite sore because the layer of tissue between the surface of the skin and shinbone is thin resulting in tight stretching of the skin. I would imagine that the skin was quite tender. There is no risk involved in air travel with this injury. Strictly speaking the injury you received was a form of clot or haematoma. However the clotted blood was outside the blood vessel and therefore cannot become dislodged and travel to heart and lungs via the system of veins. The particular clots that pose a significant danger are those that occur in the deep veins located in the calf muscles. These can develop during air travel, especially on long haul flights, which has become known as economy class syndrome. You are not at greater risk of this happening because of your injury. Your injury should have completely resolved before you travel in a month from now.