A contusion is an injury to the skin and underlying tissues that is usually caused by a direct blow. This results in the bruising of the skin overlying the injured tissues. Contusions cause rupture and bleeding of the small capillaries and blood vessels that allow blood to infiltrate muscles, tendons, nerves or other soft tissues.
The initial treatment for contusions involves rest for the injured area, application of ice to the area for 20 minutes every few hours, compression with an elastic bandage, and elevation of the injured area, if possible. As the pain subsides, the joint where the affected muscle crosses should be moved to prevent stiffness and the shortening (contracture) of the joint. These joint movements and stretches should be done as soon as pain permits.
As pain continues to subside, strengthening of the affected muscles should also be performed. This may be done on your own or under the guidance of a physical therapist or athletic trainer. Occasionally, extra padding over the area of contusion may be recommended before returning to sports, particularly if re-injury is likely.
With all acute injuries, follow the RICE principle to reduce swelling, pain and inflammation.
R est- Walk with crutches if you cannot bear weight.
I ce- Use an ice pack for 20 minutes every two to three hours during the first 72 hours.
C ompression- Use an ace wrap on the injury. Start from the bottom and wrap upwards.
E levation- Keep the injured area above the level of your heart when sitting or lying down
More on sports injuries
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