Blood in muscle: Contusion (bruise)

Patient

Q: What is a contusion

Doctor

A:    Athletes and the rest of the active people in all contact sports have many opportunities to get a muscle contusion (bruise). Contusions are second only to strains as a leading cause of sports injuries.Most contusions are minor and heal quickly, without taking the athlete needing to be removed from the game. But, severe contusions can cause deep tissue damage and can lead to complications and/or keep the athlete out of sports for months. Contusions occur when a direct blow or repeated blows from a blunt object strike part of the body, crushing underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue without breaking the skin. A contusion can result from falling or jamming the body against a hard surface. Sometimes a pool of blood collects within damaged tissue, forming a lump over the injury (hematoma).In severe cases, swelling and bleeding beneath the skin may cause shock. If tissue damage is extensive, you may also have a fractured bone, dislocated joint, sprain, torn muscle, or other injuries. Contusions to the abdomen may damage internal organs. See your doctor right away for complete diagnosis. A physical examination will determine the exact location and extent of injury. Diagnostic imaging tools may be used to better visualize inside the injured area of your body. These tools include ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scans. For some injuries, your doctor may also need to check for nerve injury. Contusions cause swelling and pain and limit joint range of motion near the injury. Torn blood vessels may cause bluish discoloration. The injured muscle may feel weak and stiff. To control pain, bleeding, and inflammation, keep the muscle in a gentle stretch position and use the RICE formula: est: Protect the injured area from further harm by stopping play. You may also use a protective device (i.e., crutches, sling). ce: Apply ice wrapped in a clean cloth. (Remove ice after 20 minutes.). ompression: Lightly wrap the injured area in a soft bandage or ace wrap. levation: Raise it to a level above the heart. If there is a large hematoma that does not go away within several days, in some cases the doctor may drain it surgically to speed healing.
 
 

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