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Contusion In Adults, Ambulatory Care

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.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Pain that increases when you touch the bruise, walk, or use the area around the bruise
  • Swelling or a lump at the site of the bruise or near it
  • Red, blue, or black skin that may change to green or yellow after a few days
  • Stiffness or problems moving the bruised area of your body

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • New difficulty moving your injured area
  • Tingling or numbness in or near the injured area
  • Hand or foot below the bruise gets cold or turns pale

Treatment for a contusion

may include any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and 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.
  • Pain medicine to decrease or take away pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
  • Aspiration to drain pooled blood in your muscle may be done to help prevent increased pressure in the muscle.
  • Surgery may be done to repair a tear in the muscle or relieve pressure in the muscle caused by swelling.

Care for a contusion:

  • 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.
  • Use 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. 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.
  • 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 massage or use heat. Heat and massage may slow healing of the area.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol may slow healing of your injury.
  • Do not stretch injured muscles. Ask your healthcare provider when and how you may safely stretch after your injury.

Prevent a 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.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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