Variety of causes may end up in bruised skin, wherein small blood vessels beneath it are ruptured, while the skin surface does not. This causes the blood to leak into nearby tissues that can be either soft tissues or muscles. In children, hard or blunt objects, falling, or blows are the most common causes of bruises, while in adults, knee sprains and injuries cause this internal blood seepage. In addition, bruises also occur in the elderly as a result of thinning of the skin, causing it to be more prone to injuries that may end up in muscle contusions. Contusions are commonly mild, but in severe cases, they may lead to shock and damage internal organs. Thus, treating contused area of the body is essential, in that if these contusions develop into major swelling and bleeding, they can be observed and treated immediately.
How to treat muscle contusion
In most cases, bruises heal without any treatments or medications. However, severe cases might require specific treatments and prescribed medications. To treat contusions that are severe enough, you may need any of the following:
- Medications containing ibuprofen that helps decrease inflammation, pain, and fever. However, this medication is not recommended for expecting women and those taking blood-thinning medications.
- Aspiration of blood accumulated beneath the skin surface that may leak and cause blood seepage occurring as contusions. This procedure is performed to drain this accumulation.
- Surgeries, which is done to relieve muscle pressure beneath the skin. Excessive muscle pressure may lead to swelling seen as contusions.
Treating muscle contusions at home
To help heal muscle contusion, there are some things you can do at home. These are recommended for mild contusions caused by minor injuries, such as falling, blows, or sprains.
- Limit pressure and motions on the affected area. Excessive use or pressure of the affected area will worsen the contusions, as blood circulation might be inhibited. Thus, sufficient rest is essential during contusion healing as it reduces muscle pressure.
- To decrease swelling on the contusion area, cold or ice pack can be applied. Wrap the pack with a towel and apply it on the affected area to bring the inflammation down. Place it over the bruises for 15 to 20 minutes, giving an interval between applications.
- Elevate the contusion area. If you are suffering from contusions on the arms or legs, you can elevate the body part to help decrease the pain and swelling, as lifting it will inhibit excessive blood circulation to the wound site, so that the swelling can be minimized.
- Do not massage the contusions, as this may worsen the condition. Hot pad or hot compresses are also not recommended for treating contusions as it may cause delay in healing.
- Do not stretch the affected muscles. This is closely related to limit motions and pressure around the affected muscles. Stretching the affected muscles may aggravate the ruptured blood vessels, resulting in worse contusions.
These first-aids for muscle contusion is also known and abbreviated as RICE—Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate. The main purpose of this treatment is to minimize hemorrhage and inflammation and control pain. This RICE treatment should be done within the first 24 hours in patients with minor muscle contusion symptoms, and 48 hours for those undergoing more severe symptoms. During this crucial period, the contusion area should not be intruded by any forms of heat, as this will elevate the risk of hemorrhage and edema. However, contusions are generally stabilized within 24 to 48 hours and heat can be helpful after this period, as it helps breaking up the mass of blood and tissues and thus, can be used as a secondary treatment. People with thigh contusions might require walking aids, such as a wheelchair or crutches that will be helpful in reducing weight accumulated on the contusion, so that healing process can be boosted. Muscle contusions in children might be harder to treat considering their active movements that may affect the wound site. Therefore, during the first one or two days, children need to be encouraged to limit their movements so that the affected muscles will not be aggravated, which may cause delay to the healing process.