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All About Contusions, AKA: Bruises

Contusions are most commonly known as bruises. A contusion occurs when bumping into something, falling on a hard surface or being struck by a blunt object, causing the underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue to crush. This causes the injured capillary or vessel to leak blood under the skin, sometimes swelling and forming a lump.

Usually, contusions are minor and they heal very fast. In the case of a severe contusion, deep tissue can be damaged, possibly causing complications or bleeding beneath the skin.


When we think of a bruise, we tend to think that only the skin is affected, but actually also bones, muscles, and organs can get bruised.

When referring to contusions on the muscle or skin tissue, symptoms include:

  • The affected area looks red, green, purple, blue, or black

  • Pain that gets worse when applying direct pressure

  • A small bump

Bone contusions can be caused by serious injuries such as a car accident, hard fall, or a high-impact sports injury.

The symptoms of a bone contusion may include:

  • Swelling

  • Tenderness

  • Stiffness

  • Trouble using the injured body part

  • Pain that lasts a relatively long time

How to treat contusions?

Normally, contusions don’t require any treatment, as they just take time to heal. Muscle or skin injuries usually take a few days and up to a few weeks, while bone contusions can take one to two months.

You can relieve the symptoms by:

  • Resting the affected area, if possible.

  • Applying a cold compress to reduce the swelling, using a cloth to protect your skin from ice burn. It is recommended a few times a day for 15-20 minutes each time.

  • When possible, elevate the affected area higher than the heart level, to help drain the blood from the injury.

In case of a bone contusion, your doctor might suggest wearing a brace for some time, as well as intake vitamin D and calcium supplements to increase bone health.

When should you visit our urgent care?

If the injury is severe, in some cases you might need to seek immediate attention. Visit Premier if

  • The pain gets worse and you do not see any improvement

  • Your skin is swelling or the swelling gets worse

  • You notice a tingling, weakness, or numbness around the affected area

  • The skin is cold or pale around the affected area