Term : Muscle Contusion


A muscle contusion is basically an injury to soft tissue on your body. It is also known as for short as a bruise or muscle bruise. When the contusion happens in the the soft tissue it effects muscle fibers, connective tissue, blood vessels and nerves. Most muscle contusion are minor and are quick to heal while some on the other hand tend to linger, depending on the the severity of the injury. Muscle contusions are the most common sports injury behind sprains. Severe contusions can cause serious tissue damage and keep athletes sidelined for months. To be classified as a contusion the skin over the affected area must be unbroken. The most common place for a contusion to occur is in the thigh/quadriceps, but they can occur anywhere throughout the body from arms, to stomach, and even the eye (black eye).

Dr. Larissa Roux, PhD Sports Medicine Explains Muscle Contusions


Muscle contusions occur when an individual receives one or more direct blows, to the body part, falls or jams of a body part against a hard surface. As a type of hematoma, a bruise is always caused by internal bleeding into the interstitial tissues, usually initiated by blunt trauma, which causes damage through physical compression and deceleration forces.Most of the time people usually receives muscle contusion from playing physical types of sports, such as football, basketball, and hockey just to name a few. Contusions can be the result of falling or jamming the body against a hard surface. i.e Falling down on the ice in a hockey rink or running into the first down marker in a football game.

Severity of Contusions

The severity of contusions is depends on the site of impact, the activation status of the muscle involved, the age of the patient and the fatigue that the muscle has experienced. Doctors came up with the following scale for diagnosing the severity of bone contusions:
  • Grade 1(mild)- produces mild bruising, little pain and no swelling at the site of impact. For this grade a person may have some mild soreness when pressure is applied to the area of injury. This type of contusion has no affect on range of motion.

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Stage 1 Contusion

  • Grade 2(moderate)- is slightly deeper than a grade 1 contusion and produces mild pain and a little swelling. It affects range of motion in most cases, and if the contusion occurs in the quadriceps (where it is most common) then limping can be a bi-product of the contusion.
Stage 2 Contusion

  • Grade 3(severe) - very painful and are accompanied by noticeable swelling. Individuals with this type of injury usually develop obvious bruising at the sight of injury. Muscle contusions can sometimes be mistaken for muscular tears; however they can be easily distinguished by the mechanism of injury. These types of contusion cause a severe decrease in lack of motion and if they occur in the leg are they may completely impeded the ability to walk.

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Stage 3 Contusion


  • Tenderness
  • Difficult to move injured limb
  • Swelling
  • Deep Bruising
  • Muscle tightness
  • Hematoma ( formed by the blood pooling over the injury)


  • R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) Formula
  • Pain medication
  • Physical Therapy
  • Surgical Draining ( only on severe contusions that persist for several days)

Related Terms

Soft Tissue
Blood Vessels
Web Resources
Wikipedia Bruise
Contusion Video

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