Muscle contusions, or muscle bruises, are injuries to soft tissue. They are most commonly the result of a direct blow to a body part, but may occur during a fall or when jamming a body part into a hard surface. Next to muscle strains, contusions are the second leading cause of sports injuries.
Contusions cause muscle to be crushed against the bone. This can result in ruptured blood vessels and torn muscle fibers, but contusions do not break the skin.
The symptoms of a muscle contusion typically include mild to severe pain, swelling and bruising, muscle tightness, and tenderness or pain when pressure is applied to the injury site. Contusions may also affect the flexibility and range of motion of the muscle. For example, a contusion to the front of the thigh (quadriceps) may make it difficult to bend the knee.
Severe deep-muscle contusions that are left untreated may lead to complications, such as bleeding, acute compartment syndrome, large hematomas (bruises), or myositis ossificans, a condition in which the bruised muscle grows bone instead of new muscle cells.
If you suspect you may have a serious contusion, one of our specialists will thoroughly examine you to determine the severity of the injury and identify other possible injuries, such as muscle tears or bone fractures.
Conservative treatment of contusions involves rest, ice, compression bandages, and elevation of the injured area to control the bleeding, swelling, and pain.