What is a contusion?

Contusions(bruises) are a type of hematoma — any collection of blood outside a blood vessel. Injured capillaries or blood vessels cause blood to leak into the surrounding area. 

Muscle contusions or deep bruises commonly occur among athletes that play high-impact contact sports like soccer or football. Muscle Contusions are second only to strains as a leading cause of sports injuries. 

Contusions can also occur on the bone. 

In many cases, minor contusions can heal quickly, without the athlete needing to take time away from playing the game. However, Severe contusions may cause deep tissue damage that leads to complications, which can prevent a player from playing sports for months. 

What are the symptoms of a contusion?

  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Stiffness or swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Trouble bending/moving the bruised area
  • Pain on the bruise site

Pain that lasts longer than a typical bruise typically indicates a contusion on the bone.

What causes contusions?

Contusions occur when a direct blow or repeated blows by 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.

What are the treatments for contusions?

Soft tissue contusions can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to heal. Bone contusions may take up to a couple of months to heal, depending on the severity.

Contusions can mostly be healed with time and the RICE method:

RICE Method

The initial treatment for a sprain should include the RICE strategy:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

A bone contusion may require additional treatment such as:

  • wearing a temporary brace
  • increasing your intake of calcium and vitamin D

Draining the blood from a contusion with a needle or other sharp object won’t help you heal any faster. Never attempt to drain a contusion as it may result in an infection.

If you or a loved one feel a contusion may need extra medical attention like a temporary brace, please contact us.


Our mission is to help patients to return to work, improve their quality of life, reduce dependence on medication and healthcare providers, and avoid persistent injuries.

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