Contusion: Definition, Types, Symptoms and Treatment

What exactly is a contusion? A contusion is basically a bruise. When you’re getting a bruise, your blood vessels will break and because there are little valves in your blood vessels, the blood will start flowing into the area around it. This is what causes the color change from red to purple or yellow or green or whatever color it turns into.

A contusion is an injury to the muscles, nerves, or blood vessels that occurs when there is a direct injury to the body parts. Contusions can be caused by being hit hard on something (or with something). It can also happen when something falls on your arm and damages the soft tissues in your arm.

The severity varies from mild cases that cause no pain or just blurred vision to more severe cases. In some cases, you cannot even move the affected limb or feel anything in it. In this article, we’ll go in-depth on what contusions are, how they occur, what you can do to prevent them, and how you can best treat them.

Contusion Definition
Contusion: Definition, Symptoms, Types, and Treatment

What are the symptoms of contusions?

Although the main symptom of most contusions is pain, some deeper contusions can also cause other common symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Red or black swelling appears on the injured area
  • The injured part is so painful that it is difficult to move
  • Weakness and swelling in the injured area
  • Heart rate changes and even breathing difficulties, which indicates a lung or heart contusion, and urgent treatment is needed

What Are The Different Types of Contusions?

There are a few different types of contusions. The most common would be what we call hemarthrosis or broken blood vessels. There are also bruises, and there are contusions that fall between those two categories. We’ll go into more detail about each of them.

Hemarthrosis is when there is bleeding and a collection of blood in the tissues in the injured area. You can have this where you can’t see any damage to it yet, but you can still see all of these indirect blood vessels from the outside looking in to form this pooling of blood in the tissue.

So when you have this hemarthrosis, the injury is more serious than a bruise. It’s not as painful because there’s no swelling yet. The swelling will come later after it’s been there for about 24-48 hours. Bruises would take maybe two days, but hemarthrosis takes three or four because the blood doesn’t penetrate into the tissues very quickly.

Another type of contusion is known as ecchymosis. You can get this by hitting yourself in the head or by a blunt force to your arm. With this, you can see a bump or slight swelling on the skin. If you have blood vessels that are bruised, you could have bleeding around them or a little pooling of blood in the soft tissues.

The third type of contusion is called a subcutaneous hematoma. This is when your blood vessels are broken but the damage to the soft tissue around it is also extensive. They bleed underneath the skin along with a bruise. Your blood vessels are going to break and there’s going to be bleeding under your outer layer of skin, and then you can have this pooling of blood underneath as well.

Common Contusions on Different Body Parts

Subcutaneous contusion

A subcutaneous contusion is a type of bruise just beneath the skin. Many people are familiar with this condition as almost everyone suffers from a subcutaneous contusion in their life.

Subcutaneous contusions usually appear on vulnerable areas such as hands and knees. This can cause injury to the small blood vessels under the skin. In severe cases, a large bruise may indicate bleeding from a vein or artery. This is usually caused by severe trauma such as a serious car accident. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening.

Muscle contusion

Muscle contusion can cause damage to the blood vessels inside the muscle and hinder blood and oxygen supply. Therefore, muscle contusions are usually more serious than subcutaneous contusions, which can cause muscle swelling and severe pain.

In some cases, people with muscle contusions mistakenly believe that they are broken, strained, or sprained. You need to seek medical help as soon as possible, otherwise, a lot of blood will accumulate in the muscles.

Organ contusion

The internal organs of the body including the lungs, kidneys, liver, and heart may also be bruised. This usually happens after a strong hit or a fall. Organ contusion can severely damage the internal soft tissues, blood vessels, and organs. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening. If you have suffered an organ contusion, seek medical help as soon as possible.

Eye contusion

Eye contusion is also a very common type of contusion. This can cause bruising around the eyes. In addition, eye contusions can cause redness, swelling, tearing, pain, and swelling of the eyes. If the cornea in the corner of the eye is scratched, the result will be more serious. You need to consult a doctor for an eye examination as soon as possible.

Bone contusion

Although bones are the hardest part of the human body, bone contusions can cause small bone fractures. You may feel broken bones and have difficulty moving the injured area. In addition, bone contusions can cause breathing difficulties and severe pain. A bone contusion can also cause complications of osteochondritis dissecans, which usually occur in joints such as the knee or ankle.

Cartilage contusion

Cartilage is the tissue in the body that is harder than muscle but softer than bone. You can find a lot of cartilage on the tip of your nose and on the outside of your ears. Cartilage contusion usually occurs when violently impacted. Fortunately, most cartilage damage is not serious, it usually heals without treatment after a period of time.

How Do You Prevent Contusions?

The best thing you can do to prevent a contusion is to wear protective gear. That’s about it. There’s really not much that you can do to protect yourself from them unless you wear something to protect yourself. You should always wear safety gear when playing sports. That includes helmets, pads, and so on.

If you’re in a situation where there’s no risk of injury like going for a walk and accidentally falling down, your chances of having one are pretty slim. But if there’s some type of risk in the area that you’re going into, then the chances go way up.

How Can You Treat Contusions?

If you do end up injuring yourself, and if it’s a mild case, then you’ll be fine with getting it iced. If it’s a little bit more serious, then you can have some form of painkillers. Although not all cases of contusions hurt that much, so sometimes the only thing you need is something to help your body produce more blood around the injury area.

For more serious cases where the bleeding is pretty bad, you’ll most likely have to go see a doctor. They’re going to give you a prescription for pain, and they might give you some anti-inflammatory medicine as well. They’ll also have you follow up with them in a few days to make sure that the injury has completely healed.

The most important thing you can do if you do have a contusion though is to let it heal naturally. If it’s something that doesn’t hurt anymore, then try not to use ice on it or try not to mess with the area too much before it’s healed over. That way, the tissue will have all of the time in the world to heal properly and for your body to be able to recover from it.

Another important thing to do is to keep the area clean. You don’t want to put anything on it that might cause more bruising or damage the tissue. Try not to touch it for at least a couple of days. It needs time and rest in order for your body to recover from whatever trauma you’ve experienced.

What’s The Difference Between Bruises And Contusions?

Bruises are a type of contusion, but they can be different because they aren’t usually as severe as contusions can be. The bruising process is different because you have an injury and it causes blood vessels to break and then form a bruise. You might see this bruise before you see the injury by looks of your skin.

Final Thoughts

Contusions are a type of injury that you shouldn’t take lightly. Not all cases are as easy to deal with as some bruises, which is why it’s important to follow up with a doctor in the event that your injury is more serious than what you had originally thought.

If you have any risk of getting into an accident or something where you could be hurt, then we highly suggest wearing safety gear. That way, you won’t have to worry about dealing with a contusion.

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