Chest Contusion

ExitCare ImageA chest contusion is a deep bruise on your chest area. Contusions are the result of an injury that caused bleeding under the skin. A chest contusion may involve bruising of the skin, muscles, or ribs. The contusion may turn blue, purple, or yellow. Minor injuries will give you a painless contusion, but more severe contusions may stay painful and swollen for a few weeks.

CAUSES

A contusion is usually caused by a blow, trauma, or direct force to an area of the body.

SYMPTOMS

  • Swelling and redness of the injured area.

  • Discoloration of the injured area.

  • Tenderness and soreness of the injured area.

  • Pain.

DIAGNOSIS

The diagnosis can be made by taking a history and performing a physical exam. An X-ray, CT scan, or MRI may be needed to determine if there were any associated injuries, such as broken bones (fractures) or internal injuries.

TREATMENT

Often, the best treatment for a chest contusion is resting, icing, and applying cold compresses to the injured area. Deep breathing exercises may be recommended to reduce the risk of pneumonia. Over-the-counter medicines may also be recommended for pain control.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Put ice on the injured area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15-20 minutes, 03-04 times a day.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as directed by your caregiver. Your caregiver may recommend avoiding anti-inflammatory medicines (aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen) for 48 hours because these medicines may increase bruising.

  • Rest the injured area.

  • Perform deep-breathing exercises as directed by your caregiver.

  • Stop smoking if you smoke.

  • Do not lift objects over 5 pounds (2.3 kg) for 3 days or longer if recommended by your caregiver.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have increased bruising or swelling.

  • You have pain that is getting worse.

  • You have difficulty breathing.

  • You have dizziness, weakness, or fainting.

  • You have blood in your urine or stool.

  • You cough up or vomit blood.

  • Your swelling or pain is not relieved with medicines.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.