Contusions: What Symptoms To Watch Out For & How To Treat Them?

A contusion is the technical term for a common bruise, which is regularly misunderstood and mistreated. Contusions occur when small blood vessels under the skin break, causing blood to leak into the surrounding tissues. While contusions are often minor and heal on their own, understanding their causes, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for managing more severe cases and promoting faster recovery. 

Bone Contusion vs Muscular Contusion

Bone contusions and muscular contusions are very different in terms of their care. Bone bruising can be compared to dropping an apple, whereby you don’t pierce the skin but still cause internal damage. Particularly when on a weight-bearing surface, the process often takes six weeks to recover. Muscular contusions, often referred to as corks, usually have a faster recovery time, but if mismanaged can cause calcifications and secondary injuries such as muscle strains. 

Common Causes Of Contusion Bruises

Contusions can result from various causes, most commonly trauma or injury to the skin, often due to a blunt force impact. This can occur during accidents, falls, sports-related activities, or any situation where the body experiences sudden force. Medical conditions such as bleeding disorders & blood clotting abnormalities, can increase the likelihood of contusions meaning they may bruise more easily than others. 

Symptoms Of Muscle Contusion

Recognising the symptoms of contusions is essential for appropriate and timely treatment. Common symptoms of a contusion include:  

  • Pain 
  • Swelling due to the inflammatory response 
  • Limited range of motion 
  • Discolouration – ranging from red or purple initially to blue or black as they progress, and eventually turning green or yellow as they fade away. 

Contusion symptoms

How To Treat Bruises

While most contusions heal on their own with time, several treatment methods can help manage symptoms and expedite recovery to return to activity levels as soon as safely possible.  

Treatment of contusions usually consists of: 

  • Relative rest of the bruised area 
  • Icing the tissue (with the muscle on stretch when muscular) 
  • Compression +/ elevation (when it is joint or bone related)  
  • With muscular contusions in particular, you avoid HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running or Massage directly to the site), however treating above and below the site can be very beneficial in avoiding further injury, preventing long-term compensatory patterns, and allowing for a smooth return to sport.  
  • It is also important to try and maintain pain-free volume of training loads with athletic populations to allow for a safe return to sport. 

Physiotherapy and chiropractic therapy is a crucial component in the recovery process. Skilled practitioners help design personalised exercise programs to improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion around the injured area, which aid in preventing muscle stiffness and reducing the risk of complications such as contractures. Manual therapy techniques, including massage and joint mobilisation, may be employed to enhance blood circulation, reduce pain, and improve tissue healing. 

Physiotherapy exercises

Secure The Treatment You Need With Spinal & Sports Care!

Contusions, though common, can vary in severity. Understanding the causes, recognising symptoms, and adopting appropriate treatment methods are essential for effective management. Physical therapy not only enhances the healing process but also plays a vital role in restoring function and preventing long-term complications.

If you live in Castle Hill, Parramatta, Wetherill Park or its surrounding areas and encounter muscle contusion, then you should reach out to our team at Spinal & Sports Care. We have fully qualified Chiropractors and Physiotherapists who are able to help treat your contusions. 

To learn more about contusion treatment options, please do not hesitate to call our team (02) 9683 1110. Alternatively, you can book an appointment to visit your local clinic by using the online booking form.