Those who engage in contact sports face a high risk for muscle contusion. Contusions are also considered one of the leading causes of strains during sports. Most cases of muscle contusions are minor and heal quickly and will not lead to a long break from activity for months.
Muscle contusions occur when a direct blow or constant blow from a blunt object strikes part of the body, thus crushing the muscle fibers and connective tissues without breaking the skin. A muscle contusion can also occur from a fall or jamming the body against a hard surface.
Contusions can cause pain, swelling and limited range of motion especially the joints close to the injury. The torn blood vessels can cause the bluish discoloration. The affected muscle will feel stiff and weak.
Oftentimes, a pool of blood accumulates within the damaged tissue, resulting to the formation of a lump over the injury. In severe cases, bleeding and swelling under the skin can cause shock. If the tissue damage is extensive, the individual might have a broken bone, sprain, dislocated joint, torn muscle or other injuries. Contusions on the abdomen can damage the internal organs.
Diagnosing muscle contusions
A doctor should be consulted for proper diagnosis of the condition. A physical examination will determine the exact location and extent of the injury. The imaging tools can be utilized to provide a better view inside the affected part of the body. These tools include MRI, ultrasound or CT scan.
The best way to manage the pain, inflammation and bleeding, the muscle must be kept in a gently stretched position and use the RICE method. If you want to learn more about this treatment option, click here.
- The affected area must be protected from further injury by avoiding any activity as well as using a protective device such as a sling or crutches.
- You can apply an ice pack wrapped in a clean towel or cloth that must be applied for 20 minutes.
- The injured area must be lightly wrapped using an ACE wrap or soft bandage.
- Elevate the affected area to a level higher than the level of the heart.
Many athletes who have muscle contusions tend to heal quickly with simple treatment options. The doctor can provide non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief. Just remember not to massage the injured area.
During the initial 24-48 hours after the injury, it is best to continue using rest, application of ice, compression bandages and elevation. While the affected area heals, you have to make sure that the individual will continue to exercise the area to maintain overall level of fitness. In case there is a large-sized hematoma that does not vanish within several days, the doctor might drain it surgically to hasten the healing.
After a few days, the inflammation will start to subside and the injury will feel a little better. At this time, the doctor will instruct the application of mild heat to the injury and start the rehabilitation process. Remember that it is vital to increase the activity level gradually.