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Are Bruises Really That Simple to Treat? Football Injuries

November 23, 2011

Bruises are easily the most common injury suffered in football. What with the constant physical contact from helmets, knees, shoulders and sometimes shoes, every football player is bound to walk off the field with at least one bruise.

These bruises, a grisly discoloration of the skin, also known as hematoma or contusions, occur when blood vessels near the surface of the skin break. The blood pools, leaving a bluish blemish on the skin.

Bruises are not that much of a concern, but some treatment options can help the bruising process. The most common is the RICE method. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

  • Rest. Most bruises appear on the meaty parts of our bodies, like the bicep or thigh, where mobility is not a real issue. But if you work out for instance, you might want to take a few days off to let the area heal before hitting the weights. However, if you can work through the pain, then it’s your decision. There are not too many concerns of further injury when it comes to bruises.
  • Ice. Ice is perfect for reducing swelling or pain. Use a bag of frozen vegetables, a Zip lock bag full of ice or a cool compress. Don’t exceed icing an area for more than 20 minutes.
  • Compression. While compression is not as important as it is too other injuries like a strain or sprain, a bruise is a sports injury that can still benefit from compression.
  • Elevate. Lift the area that is bruised for an extend period of time to allow the swelling to go down. This is also helpful for draining some of the pooled blood away from the bruised area.

If you are dealing with extreme pain or welling from a bruise, or can’t move the bruised area, then you should get the help of your doctor. There are some other indicators you should be looking out for. For example,

  • Bruises that appear out of nowhere.
  • Bruises that appear very close to the eye.
  • Bruises with swelling that is not going down or the injured area is too sore to move.
  • Bruises that never go away.

It takes time for the blood from a bruised area to disappear, but if any of the above symptoms should be present with your injury, visit your doctor to make sure that nothing more serious is wrong.

Dr. Rick Lehman is a distinguished orthopedic surgeon in St. Louis, Missouri and an articular cartilage reconstruction pioneer He owns U. S. Sports Medicine in Kirkwood, MO, and LehmanHealth. Learn more about Dr. Rick.



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