How Do I Treat a Deep Thigh Bruise?

Apply ice to the bruised area immediately.
Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help treat a deep thigh bruise.
Bruised thigh.
Crutches may be necessary for a severe thigh bruise to keep weight off the injured leg.
Rugby players are at risk for deep thigh bruises.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: Christian Petersen
  • Revised By: Donna Johnson
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A deep thigh bruise is a contusion in the quadriceps, a group of four muscles located on the front of the thigh. Often a result of a direct blow to the front of the thigh, this injury is especially common in athletes who participate in contact sports such as American football and rugby. Deep thigh bruises are categorized as mild, moderate or severe, with more severe ones requiring a longer period of treatment. Treatment for this type of injury begins with the Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE) method. This is followed by stretching, medication and protection until your leg is pain-free and you have a full range of motion again.

First Aid

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The first step in treating a deep thigh bruise is to follow the RICE method. First, immediately stop whatever you were doing when you got the bruise, and apply ice or a cold pack that's wrapped in a towel or cloth to protect the skin to the area. For the first four to six hours immediately following the injury, you should apply ice for about 20 minutes per hour, and then every 3 to 4 waking hours over the next two days. While applying ice, you should bend the knee as far as you can without causing pain to help prevent stiffness and loss of range of motion. In conjunction with the ice, you should also use a bandage to help prevent swelling. This shouldn't be too tight, and you should have full circulation to your feet and toes. While you're resting the leg, try to keep it elevated. Though it's ideal to have it above your heart, any elevation is fine.

Pain Relief

If you're not allergic to ibuprofen or acetaminophen, you can take either one of these medications to help with pain and keep inflammation down. Make sure not to exceed the dosing instructions for either medication, though. If you need stronger pain relief, or if the pain lasts for longer than 10 days, you should stop taking the painkillers and get medical help.

Recovery

A program of regular stretching is important for recovery. You can try lying on your stomach with a pillow under the injured leg. Then bend your leg slowly at the knee until you feel a stretching sensation. Hold it for about 30 to 60 seconds each time, and then repeat, gradually stretching a little more each time. You should do this for 10 to 15 minutes a day, three times per day, for a period of 10 days to two weeks.

It's also very important to protect the area from another injury. Protective padding or compression wraps work well for this purpose. Crutches may be necessary in especially severe cases, to keep the patient's weight off the affected leg. Once the leg is no longer painful and you have the same range of motion as you did before the injury, you should be ready to get back to your normal activities.

During recovery, you'll need to avoid certain activities, particularly those that can strain your legs. If you're a regular runner, you may need to do another activity, like swimming or upper body resistance training. Once you have recovered, it's important to avoid activities that could cause you to become injured again. Make sure to wear appropriate protective gear for any sports that you participate in, and wear an elastic bandage over the site of the injury once you're exercising again.

Complications

Failure to adhere to a proper deep thigh bruise treatment plan may lead to a condition known as myositis ossificans, a pooling of blood that eventually calcifies in the injured muscle. Another possible complication of improper treatment is compartment syndrome, a result of excessive muscle swelling. In this condition, the swelling can cause the nerve and circulatory tissues at the injury site to become compressed and even die. Both of these conditions usually require surgical treatment. To avoid complications, you should contact a healthcare provider immediately if you are in extreme pain, can't walk on the injured leg, feel a lot of pressure in the injured area, or see signs of an infection.

Things to Avoid

It's important to not apply heat to a deep thigh bruise, as it can increase the swelling and bleeding. Massage can be harmful too, so it's not recommended for the first few days after an injury. Also, make sure not to strain the muscle any further by using it, at least for the first two days. Avoid alcohol as well, at least for the first few days. Above all, don't try to ignore the pain, as delaying treatment can lead to permanent complications.

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Discuss this Article

CharlesBb
Post 9

I have damaged or bruised parts of my body from doing rugby and I can't stop playing. I want to find exercises, stretches and foods that will help prevent me being injured, painful or stiff. If anyone can give me some help with this, I would really appreciate it.

anon350806
Post 7

I play rugby and I have bruised a few muscles around my body and have damaged my thumb and have been recommended to stop playing but yet I have to keep playing, Can you tell me exercises, stretches and type of diets I can can use to prevent pain and stiffness and rapid recovery if you can I would really appreciate it.

anon346867
Post 6

I am 65 years old and about four or five weeks ago, my grandson skidded along my daughter's leather settee and collided with both knees into the side of my thigh. About three days later, I noticed my knee seemed weak and when I tried to put weight on it, to walk upstairs it collapsed. I didn't realise how serious this sort of knock could be until seeing this website, and didn't tell my doctor about it when I went to him.

I am going to see him again this week as I still get a burning sensation in my thigh, and I don't trust my knee, so I don't put my weight on it.

anon327717
Post 5

Eight years ago I bruised the side of my thigh, the outside part, from pushing against the door handle of a car. I pressed against the door to help me reach the pedals since I was too short. I didn't know at the time how badly I had injured my leg. Now, eight years later, the pain is still excruciating. I have sharp electrical shock pains and I cry. What can I do about this and what is it called?

anon294955
Post 4

Well what do you know? I'm a rugby player and I have a deep thigh bruise. I took a knee right to the thigh during practice yesterday and I've been hobbling around since. By the way, I've been putting heat on it because it felt good but now I know that the ice is the way to go.

angelBraids
Post 3

A few years ago I fell down some stairs and got the biggest bruise I have ever seen in my life! The doctor told me that deep thigh bruise recovery can be a long process, even if you are able to start treatment straightaway.

After several weeks I looked around for alternative bruise remedies and found information on homeopathic treatments. There are very easy rubs you can make yourself with olive oil and a little vitamin E and arnica.

I did check again with my doctor before using this, just to be safe. It worked really well and so I recommend the combination of traditional and alternative treatments for healing bruises.

CaithnessCC
Post 2

@anon111393 - Sorry to read about your accident. You are lucky not to have broken anything, I know how much horses weigh!

It sounds like the bruising appeared after you went to urgent care, so to be safe I would go see a doctor and check out what is happening now.

I had deep muscle bruising after a bike injury last year and the doctor asked me about any plans to fly. She said that this can lead to blood clots being formed, so you need to check it out before your trip.

anon111393
Post 1

I have a serious bruise on my thigh where my horse fell on me while we were training last weekend. I haven't done much with it other than to leave it alone, but it's about 150 percent normal size and I'm starting to wonder whether I should seek medical attention.

Went to urgent care immediately afterward and they X-rayed and found nothing broken. I am supposed to go on a business trip next week and am a little concerned about flying like this. Am I at risk for any problems with blood clots or problems due to the reduced air pressure on the plane?

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