Sports injury bruises are common in nearly all contact sports. Rugby players, footballers and basketball players always have a few bruises.
But beating and bruising are also common in those who practice high-impact individual sports, such as professional climbing and tennis, and those who run long distances.
Bruises: what are they?
Bruises are also known as hematomas. They consist of the accumulation of blood in certain soft tissues of the body due to the rupture of blood vessels. The blood leaves the circulatory system and is deposited under the skin, in the muscle or near the bone.
A feature of bruises is their coloring. This color changes over time due to the chemical modification of the hemoglobin found in the blood. The color change denotes the evolution and resolution process of the bruise.
Depending on the location, there are three types of bruises:
- From the periosteum – is the deepest hematoma and is located in the bone itself.
- Intramuscular : blood collects between muscle fibers; it is the hallmark of muscle tears.
- Subcutaneous : The hematoma is found under the skin. This type of bruise is the most common.
Bruises are noticeable immediately, both when they are under the skin and when they are intramuscular. Periosteal hematoma is not visible from the outside and can only be detected through x-rays.
Along with the bruise, pain and inflammation usually appear. The pain is explained by the pressure that the blood exerts on nearby structures. In fact, this accumulation of fluid is occupying a space that was previously occupied by other parts of the body.
Subcutaneous and intramuscular bruises are painful to touch and even increase the sensitivity of the skin in the region where they are present. Some cases do not even allow the use of clothing on the bruise.
Intramuscular hematoma is usually accompanied by poor mobility. The fibers of the affected muscle appear altered and expand due to the presence of the bruise, which makes it difficult to use, especially in sports.
Muscle tear as a hematoma pathology
Among sports injuries, muscle strain is one of the most feared and frequent. The rupture of muscle fibers is a classic among bruises.
A tear is the rupture of the muscle, in general of some specific fibers, due to a sudden contraction or a sudden movement aimed at stretching. The lower limbs are the most affected, and consequently, the bruises.
Muscle strains are classified into three degrees, depending on the severity:
- First: it is the mildest form of injury. The affected region hurts and may not have a hematoma or be tiny in size, not visible.
- Second : there is a hematoma and you suffer from functional muscle impotence.
- Third : the tear is large and it will be necessary to evaluate a possible surgery. Clinically, it presents with extensive bruising that may require surgical drainage.
Any complications of bruising
A hematoma generated by a sports injury can progress favorably or become complicated. In a sense it will depend on the approach that is performed immediately, as we will see later.
The most common complication that should be avoided is infection. An infected hematoma requires the use of antibiotics and surgical therapy to drain the area to allow colonizing organisms and pus to escape.
The other dreaded complication is compartment syndrome. This clinical picture consists of the presence of signals and symptoms derived from the pressure exerted on the nerves and blood vessels. Compartment syndrome must be treated appropriately. If necessary, the hematoma will need to be drained.
How to cure bruises from sports injuries
Bruises in general are treated conservatively. The initial measure is rest, which the athlete can take immediately, until he has heard the doctor’s opinion.
In the beginning, you can also choose to use cold packs on the affected area. The ice pack should be applied to the hematoma several times a day, for short periods of time, using a cloth that separates the source of the cold from the skin.
In addition, it is recommended to bandage the bruise. The bandage should not be too tight, but it must still exert some pressure on the area to prevent the expansion of the liquid and force the body to accelerate its reabsorption.
Never, and under no circumstances, should an athlete drain a hematoma alone. Only specialized healthcare personnel can perform this type of intervention when indicated. Otherwise, there are high risks of infection or complications that can lead to compartment syndrome.
The use of drugs should also be established by the doctor. If necessary, the situation, the state of health and the contraindications will be evaluated to choose the appropriate drug.