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Contusion In Adults
WHAT YOU NEED TO 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.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have new trouble moving the 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.
Contact your 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.
You may need any of the following:
- NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her 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 healthcare provider as directed:
You may need to return within a week to check your injury again. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Help a contusion heal:
- 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.
- Apply ice to 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.
- Use compression to support the area and decrease swelling. Wrap an elastic bandage around the area over the bruised muscle. Make sure the bandage is not too tight. You should be able to fit 1 finger between the bandage and your skin.
- 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.
- Do not drink alcohol as directed. Alcohol may slow healing.
- Do not stretch injured muscles right after your injury. Ask your healthcare provider when and how you may safely stretch after your injury. Gentle stretches can help increase your flexibility.
- Do not massage the area or put heating pads on the bruise right after your injury. Heat and massage may slow healing. Your healthcare provider may tell you to apply heat after several days. At that time, heat will start to help the injury heal.
Prevent another contusion:
- 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.