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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