Contusions In Adults
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A contusion is a bruise that appears on your skin after an injury. A bruise happens when small blood vessels tear but skin does not. When blood vessels tear, blood leaks into nearby tissue, such as soft tissue or muscle.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicine may decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine can be bought with or without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your primary healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
- Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to decrease or take away pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
You may need to return within a week to check your injury again. Write down any questions you have so you remember to ask them in your follow-up visits.
- Rest: You may need to rest the injured area or use it less than usual. If you bruised your leg or foot, you may need crutches or a cane to help you walk. This will help you keep weight off your injured body part. Use crutches or a cane as directed.
- Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your bruise for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
- Compression: An elastic bandage may be wrapped around a bruised muscle to support the area and decrease swelling. Make sure the bandage is not too tight. You should be able to fit 1 finger between the bandage and your skin.
- Elevation: Elevate (raise) your injured body part above the level of your heart to help decrease pain and swelling. Use pillows, blankets, or rolled towels to elevate the area as often as you can.
Help your contusion heal:
- Do not massage the area or put heating pads or other warming devices on the bruise right after your injury. Heat and massage may slow the healing of the area.
- Do not drink alcohol for a few days after your injury.
- Do not stretch your injured muscles. Ask when and how to stretch safely after your injury.
Prevent new contusions:
- Stretch and warm up before you play sports or exercise.
- Wear protective gear when you play sports. Examples are shin guards and padding.
- If you begin a new physical activity, start slowly to give your body a chance to adjust.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You find a new lump in the injured area.
- Your symptoms do not improve with treatment after 4 to 5 days.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have new trouble moving your injured area.
- You have tingling or numbness in or near the injured area.
- Your hand or foot below the bruise gets cold or turns pale.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.