Muscle Contusion

Athletes in all contact sports have lots of opportunities to get a muscle contusion (bruise). Contusions are second only to strains as a leading cause of sports injuries in Central Missouri.

Most contusions are minor and heal promptly, without taking the athlete away from the game. But, major contusions cancause deep tissue damage and could result in complications which can keep the athlete out of sports for months.


Contusions develop whenever a direct blow or repeated blows from a blunt object strike part of the body, crushing underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue without breaking the skin. A contusion may arise from falling or jamming the body against a very hard surface.


Orthopedic Surgery Sports Medicine joint inflammation orthopedic care osteoarthritis pediatric orthopedics mexico missouriContusions induce swelling and pain, and limit joint range of motion near the injury. Torn blood vessels might cause bluish discoloration. The injured muscle might feel weak and stiff.

Sometimes a pool of blood collects within damaged tissue, forming a lump over the injury (hematoma).

In extreme cases, swelling and bleeding beneath the skin might cause shock. If tissue damage is considerable, you may also have a broken bone, dislocated joint, sprain, torn muscle, or other traumas.

Contusions to the abdominal area may harm internal organs.

Doctor Examination

See your doctor as soon as possible for full diagnosis. A physical exam will identify the exact location and extent of injury.

Diagnostic imaging tools might be used to better visualize within the injured area of your body. These tools include ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scans.

For certain injuries, your physician may also need to look for nerve injury.


To manage pain, bleeding, and inflammation, keep the muscle in a gentle stretch position and utilize the RICE formula:.

  • Rest. Protect the wounded area from further harm by stopping play. You may also utilize a protective device (i.e., crutches, sling).
  • Ice. Apply ice rolled up in a clean cloth. (Remove ice after 20 minutes.).
  • Compression. Lightly wrap the injured area in a soft bandage or ace wrap.
  • Elevation. Elevate it to a level above the heart.

Most athletes with contusions improve quickly with basic treatment measures. Your physician may give you nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), likeibuprofen, or other medications for pain relief. Do not massage the injured area.

During the first 24 to 48 hours after injury (acute phase), you will probably need to continue utilizing rest, ice, compression bandages, and elevation of the wounded area to regulate bleeding, swelling, and pain. While the injured part heals, be sure to keep exercising the uninjured parts of your body to sustain your overall level of fitness.

If there is a large hematoma that does not disappear within several days, your physician may drain it surgically to hasten healing.


After a couple of days, inflammation should start to go down and the injury may feel a little better. At this time, your Mexico, MO orthopedic doctor may tell you to apply gentle heat to the injury and start the rehabilitation process. Remember to raise your activity level gradually.

Depending upon the extent of your injuries, returning to your normal sports activity might take several weeks or longer. If you put too much stress on the injured area before it has healed enough, excessive scar tissue may develop and create more problems.

In the first phase of rehabilitation, your doctor might prescribe gentle stretching exercises that start to restore range of motion to the injured area.

Once your range of motion has greatly improved, your physician might prescribe weight bearing and strengthening exercises.

Whenever you have normal, pain-free range of motion, your doctor may let you return to non-contact sports.

Return to Play

You might be able to go back to contact sports whenever you get back your full strength, motion, and endurance. When your doctor says you are ready to return to play, they might want you to wear a personalized protective device to avoid further injury to the area that had a contusion.

Depending upon your sport, you may get special padding made from firm or semi-firm materials. The padding spreads out the force of impact whenever direct blows from blunt objects strike your body.


Receiving prompt medical treatment and following your doctor's advice regarding rehabilitation may help you steer clear of serious medical complications which occasionally arise from deep muscle contusions. Two of the more typical complications are compartment syndrome and myositis ossificans.

Compartment Syndrome

In certain cases, rapid bleeding may cause extremely painful swelling within the muscle group of your arm, leg, foot, or buttock. Build-up of pressure from fluids several hours following a contusion injury can interrupt blood flow and prevent nourishment from reaching the muscle group. Compartment syndrome might require urgent surgery to drain the excess fluids.

Myositis Ossificans

Young athletes who attempt to rehabilitate a severe contusion too swiftly sometimes develop myositis ossificans. This is a ailment in which the bruised muscle grows bone rather than new muscle cells.

Symptoms may include mild to serious pain that does not go away and swelling at the injury site. Abnormal bone formations can also decrease your flexibility. Vigorous stretching exercises might make the condition worse.

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation to reduce inflammation will normally help. Gentle stretching exercises may improve flexibility. Surgery is seldom required.

If you find yourself in need of medical care relating to orthopedic medicine in Audrain County, Missouri, think about heading to Audrain Orthopaedics. Dr. Kathleen Weaver is ready and able to help you find the treatment you need for muscle contusions or any other orthopedic issues.

It seems like every time I come to see you, everything goes right for me.

G.B. age 72