To say that you’ve sustained a contusion is also saying you have a bruise. The contusion could affect just the skin, or go deeper to the muscle, or even all the way down to bruise the bone. Contusions sometimes go hand in hand with lacerations or cuts of some degree to your skin. The impact could cause a bone to break, too. If something hits you hard enough (or if you run into something hard enough) you can cause damage such that you get swelling, tenderness, discoloration, and erythema (warmth). The tenderness could last perhaps 2-3 months, but the impact that the pain has on movement of the injured soft tissue might only last 2-3 days (or less!).


A doctor may suggest you get an XRAY to rule out any fractured or dislocated bones. If you did sustain any cuts or scrapes to your skin you’ll need to disinfect those. But if it’s just a pure deep bruise, then the concept of ‘walking it off’ will go into effect. You’ll want to start right in with slow and gentle active motion. For example, if you got hit in the forearm, you’ll want to gently open and close your fist, and straighten and bend your elbow. You’ll feel the pull and tenderness at the contusion site, but that’s okay if it’s not making it feel overall worse. You want to keep the circulation going through and past the injured area so that the swelling doesn’t build up and stiffness settle in. The patients that don’t shy away from this have much faster outcomes. Those that ‘baby’ their bruise, or keep it immobilized, end up dealing with it for much longer periods of time.