Q:

How do I treat a deep bruise?

A:

According to MedlinePlus, individuals with bruises, including deep or bone bruises, should ice the injury to prevent swelling and reduce pain. Wrapping the ice in a towel before applying it to the skin prevents direct contact and helps to stop tissue damage. MedlinePlus recommends applying ice for 15 minutes of every hour.

According to the New Health Guide, swelling is the primary sign of a bone bruise. However, other injuries, including broken bones, also cause swelling. An X-ray rules out these other causes of swelling. In addition to using ice, elevation of the bruise above the heart helps to reduce swelling.

OrthoInfo from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons notes that doctors often recommend use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce inflammation and pain. However, the New Health Guide warns patients with bruises to avoid the use of aspirin as it has the potential to make bruising worse by increasing bleeding.

MedlinePlus warns individuals suffering bruises to call their medical provider if the bruise causes extreme pressure in the area and is large or painful. These symptoms sometimes indicate compartment syndrome, which increases the pressure on soft tissues and other structures under the skin. The pressure decreases the blood and oxygen to the tissues and is potentially life-threatening, requiring emergency care.

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