Contusions (Bruises)

Soft Tissue
NASPE/NCAT Sport Injury Resource

Indicators:
A bruise or contusion is due to a direct blow (i.e., helmet or elbow to the thigh) to the body resulting in varying degrees of tissue damage and internal tissue bleeding. Usually ecchymosis (tissue discoloration) occurs over the area.
Treatment:
Treatment of a contusion is critical in order for proper healing to occur. The R.I.C.E principle should be applied for the first 24-48 hours after injury. The muscle should be placed in a stretched position during icing, if possible. Pain-free stretching should also be done after each ice treatment. A condition termed myositis ossificans (calcification - turned to bony material - of soft tissue) may result if improper treatment occurs. In order to prevent myosisits ossificans from occurring, do not apply heat or massage to the area after an acute contusion. When the athlete is ready to return to practice/play it is also important to properly pad and protect the injured area to prevent repeated contusions to the tissue (see return to practice).


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