I was out surfing the other day when my board and I got into a bit of a tangle. I ended up with a huge bruise on the front of my thigh and the top of my foot. They hurt and look awful. How should I treat them? Ice? Thanks.
— Banged Up Betty
Kudos to you for riding the waves, but banging into your board can cause a lot of pain. To learn my suggestions on how to treat your bruises keep on reading.
When dealing with a bruise, ice is you best friend. You should ice the area without applying the ice directly to the skin; put a thin towel between you skin and the ice. Only ice for 20 minutes every hour on your thigh and about 10 minutes for you foot, since there is less fat to act as insulation on that area. Icing any area for too long can frost bite, and you don't want to add extra trauma to an injured area. You should keep your foot and leg elevated as much as possible to keep blood from pooling in the area. Do rest your foot and leg for at least a couple of days. If running or walking hurts, ease up on physical activity for even longer. If you feel intense pressure in the bruise, you should consult a doctor to rule out any medical complications.
Anecdotally speaking, I have found arnica gel to help ease the pain of bruises. Although I don't usually find homeopathic treatments that effective, arnica seems to help minor muscular injuries heal more quickly. You can also manage any pain associated with the injury by taking acetaminophen (Tylenol). Most bruises heal in about two weeks and expect it to go from red to purple to yellow to brown. Good luck and I hope you're back riding waves soon.