close up of a young boy's knee that is bruised from falling over

Bruises – or contusions – are injuries in which capillaries are damaged, usually from a blow or trauma to the site, and leak blood into the surrounding tissue. They can be caused when you accidentally bang against something, from something knocking into you such as a ball or opponent in a game of sport, or when the skin is pinched hard, e.g. getting your fingers caught in something.

Bruises can happen simply from rushing about and banging into something (or someone!). Children, especially, are often rushing around without paying attention to their surroundings. That’s why it’s not uncommon to see kids regularly sporting bruises on their knees and limbs!

Most bruises are minor and the blood vessels heal quickly, however the blood that has already leaked out remains under the skin and the area can remain tender for a few days.

Signs and Symptoms

  • It feels painful to touch
  • The bruised area starts to swell up
  • Skin turns red, then black or blue, then yellow after a few days
  • The area around the bruise feels sore

Treatment for Soft Tissue Injuries

As soon as the injury occurs, to stop further internal bleeding and swelling (bruising) use the R.I.C.E.R treatment:

Rest the injured limb and reduce movement of the limb
Ice the injury using cold compresses, however, be aware not to over-cool the limb
Compression bandage the affected limb to help reduce swelling
Elevate the limb to reduce swelling
Refer for medical evaluation if necessary

Cold compresses can be made by placing ice into a plastic bag and then wrapping the bag in a cloth. Alternatively, reusable soft-fabric cold compresses or cold packs can be purchased to store in the freezer. Never place ice or any frozen object directly onto a casualty’s skin as this may cause more damage than help.




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