A contusion injury is a type of injury that occurs when there is a tear or rupture of the tiny blood vessels under the surface of the skin. The most common cause of a contusion is a blunt injury to the body part. A contusion also called a bruise is one of the commonest types of wounds. A contusion injury does not involve any external bleeding or breaks in the continuity of the skin. It may appear when you fall or bump into objects or get hit by a blunt object such as a ball. A contusion may appear black, purple, or blue. It changes its color while healing and may appear yellowish before it gradually fades away. The affected area may appear raised or swollen due to the leakage of blood and fluids under the skin. A contusion generally fades away in two to three weeks without any treatment. You may need to consult your doctor if
- The contused area is large or over a joint or around the eye.
- The contusion appeared unprovoked or without any injury.
- You get multiple or repeated contusions without any significant injury or trauma.
- The contusion shows no signs of healing even after a week.
- The bruise is increasing in size.
- You develop other symptoms such as a fever or bleeding from any site such as the mouth, nose, or anus.
Who is at a risk of a contusion injury?
Anyone can get a contusion or bruise. Some conditions may, however, increase the risk of a contusion. These include:
- Liver diseases
- Certain medications to prevent blood clottings such as blood thinners or aspirin
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Family history of easy bruising
- Bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, or thalassemia
- Low level of platelets in the blood
- Deficiency of vitamin C or K
What are the symptoms of a contusion injury?
The symptoms of a contusion injury include:
- Change in the skin color such as blue, black, or purple. It may change to yellowish before fading away
- Pain or tenderness
- No signs of skin breaks or external bleeding
How do you manage a contusion injury?
Most contusion injuries can be managed at home. You may need to visit your doctor if the injury is associated with other injuries such as a fracture or breaks in the skin or there are any serious symptoms such as severe pain or fever. A contusion over a joint or around the eye may need to be evaluated by the doctor. You must consult your doctor if you get repeated contusions or the contusions appear without any trauma or injury.
You may manage your contusion injury by the following:
- Cold packs or compresses: Applying cold or ice compresses over the skin may help clear the contusion and ease the symptoms through various mechanisms such as controlling the bleeding under the skin and reducing inflammation. It may also make the skin less painful and sensitive. You may use some ice cubes wrapped in a clean cloth for applying over the contusion. A cold compress must be applied as soon as possible or within the first 12 hours of getting the bruise for the best results.
- Hot packs and massage: Hot compresses can be applied after 48-72 hours to speed up healing. You can use a clean cloth soaked in warm water or a hot water bottle on the bruise. A heating pad or a warm towel can also be used to massage the contusion. Be careful of a hot pack if you have diabetes. You may have fewer sensations and may end up with a burn.
- Elevate the affected part: This may help reduce the bleeding, thus facilitating faster healing.
- Compression bandage: Wrapping a bandage around the wounded part puts pressure and reduces further bleeding. Do not wrap the bandage too tightly.
- Topical vitamins: Applying vitamin K or C topically (over the skin) may clear up the wound faster.
- Aloe vera gel: It is a safe and natural remedy that may help in faster healing of the wound and reducing pain and swelling.
- Rest: Do not irritate or trouble the affected area in a haste to get rid of the contusion. If the contusion does not get better in a few days, you get more contusions on the body or if there is severe pain or swelling, you must consult a doctor.
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
What Is the Difference Between a Bruise and a Contusion?What Is a Bruise and What Is a Contusion? Learn the differences between these two injuries and how to treat them.
First Aid Sprains/StrainsView this First Aid slideshow on Care and Pain Relief. See how to get pain relief if you've bumped your head, sprained your ankle, or had a bruise, strain, or some other minor injury.
Hematoma vs. BruiseA hematoma is a localized collection of blood in the tissues of the body outside of the blood vessels. A bruise is a discoloration of the skin that is a result of leakage of blood from capillaries into the skin. Bruises and hematomas are most commonly caused by injury to the tissues. Both minor hematomas and bruises are common results of activities from daily living and usually require no specific treatment. Seek medical care for any hematoma or spontaneous bruising that occurs without any known cause.
How are contusions treated?Learn how to treat a contusion, treatments, and when you should see a doctor.
How Do You Know When a Bruise Is Serious?A bruise is a type of wound that appears when tiny blood vessels (capillaries) present under the skin get torn or ruptured. It occurs most commonly because of any blunt trauma to the body part. This may commonly occur because of a fall or a bump.
How Do You Treat a Contusion Injury?What is a contusion injury and how do I know if I have one?
How Long Does It Take for a Hematoma to Go Away?A hematoma is not a bruise. Learn what causes a hematoma and what you can do to treat one. What is the difference between a contusion and a hematoma? See the differences and similarities between these two types of bruises.
Is a Contusion Serious?A contusion is a bruise that can result from an impact or similar injury when a small vessel in the area gets damaged. A contusion may be serious when it's accompanied by dizziness, headache, confusion, and other symptoms.
Is a Hematoma Worse Than a Contusion?A hematoma is very similar to a bruise, but when the blood vessels break, the blood gets stuck and pools in one place. No single hematoma is guaranteed to be worse than a contusion.
Why Is a Hematoma Worse Than a Bruise?A hematoma is like a bruise but more serious. A hematoma is worse than a bruise because it's usually a sign of an injury deeper in the skin.