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How Do You Treat a Bad Bruise?

You Asked: How Do I Treat a Big Bruise?

Dear Fit,
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.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Moscato Moscato 5 years
I tripped over a garden hose this past thursday 6pm & it made me fly forward landing quickly a step down from my patio onto the composite sandy pervious driveway flat on my front left cheek, lip, chin and knee, my cheek swelled up the most at first, I saw  a doctor fri noon confirmed no broken bones, but immediately upon falling iced 20 min off & on till 3am all affected parts, then resumed a bit more icing but less often when I woke. I also washed cheek and chin with soap & i-water immediately, then my usual application of neem oil to get as much of the grit off as I could, but some was imbedded in the flesh of cheek & under lip. Lip was bleeding in many places & inside mouth also cut up, no teeth moved, yay. Soon a hematoma sac formed under my left inner corner eye & has been flattening out & spreading well around the eye & cheek is turning bruise bluish all way down cheek. 2nd day late after doctor visit,  I noticed the chin-lip was swelling more was pink, and cheek also still pink but much less swollen. Touching the center of cheek still  painful & under lip very painful still. Under lip oozed small bead of pus & I blotted with neem oil on gauze till there was no more oozing, thought it helped. Sat night, the lip was less swollen, easier to see my teeth on the left side, but as was eating some food, it put pressure on the clotted blood spot under the lip  & made it bleed a bit again, I used neem oil on bandaid padded with some sterile cotton & held overnight, & woke to generally healing all over except the area where it bled again is hard again but more centralized & hurts  more through to the inside of under lip again.  I usually use homeopathy & had taken a few drops of mushroom extract under my tongue each night & this morning, Fri and Sat swished salt water in my mouth, then swished two drops of oregano oil in a base of oiive oil a few times yesterday, helping the inside of mouth to heal, ate some fresh oregano leaves yesterday, mostly ate yogurt plus some solid food.  Not sure how to cure a bruise beyond what have been doing where it has become infected and don't like the pink hard center of my cheek. Am a diabetic very controlled with only strict very low carbohydrate diet mix of protein & greens and do not do well with allopathic medicines of any kind, no caffein or alcohol. Can an integrative medicine doctor help me cure the infection, or should I go back to the allopathic family practice doctor in my small town? To complicate, the family practice doctor on Fri saw a small basal cell carcinoma on my forehead I thought was a pimple, that wants to remove it.  I wonder why I have been getting several such blemishes this past year? Thinking them pimples I thought I cured them using neem oil & i-water. Now that I know what a basal cell carcinoma looks like I wonder if it can be be at all treated integratively & homeopathically. Thank you.
Allytta Allytta 7 years
i slipped in the shower 4 days ago, was very tired after my jog... and got a huge bruise under my knee. am using arnica now. the pain did go away very quickly, i was icing it for the first 24 hours. i remember reading here that that's the rule of thumb and after 24 hours it shouldn't be done anymore. the colour is nasty still, i don't think arnica is doing anything for the appearance of the bruise.
MsChoo MsChoo 7 years
when i was a kid my parents used to give me a hot hard boiled egg to rub on my bruises. not sure if that actually did anything
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I had a massive bruise on my thigh once (thank you mosh pit!), took about a month to heal. I found that keeping warm helped with the pain, and anything below my body temperature just made it angrier.
sheena sheena 7 years
Tylenol is good for pain, but you should take an NSAID instead (ASA, Aspirin, Ibuprofen) because it will help to reduce both pain and swelling. Feel better!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I had a huge bruise on my arm about a year ago that took forever to heal up, even though I did ice it. I'm sure if I hadn't used the ice, it would have been a lot worse. I've heard that arnica gel is fantastic though. I'd try it next time I get a big bruise.
Lauren3185 Lauren3185 7 years
I love amica gel! I ride horses and sometimes my horse and I...well, we part ways. Amica gel is my best ally to get rid of those nasty bruises.
urban-chic-101 urban-chic-101 7 years
Man, I've had some baaaaaaaaaaad bruises. Thanks for the info. I'm probably due for a major one any time now.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 7 years
I have used arnica and it worked amazingly.
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