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Sports Medicine

Severe bruising and swelling on hip and leg

10/23/2007

Question:

I was playing football 3 days ago, received a minor (at the time) bone to bone impact to my hip. Later that even, severe pain ensued and continued through the next day. Approx 30 hours later, bruising began about 4-5" in diameter on the outside of my hip/leg area. Now, another 36 hours later, the bruising is very dark, has spread to an area about 10" long and 9" wide. The bruising and swelling has also began to creep down the interior of my leg towards the groin area within the last 10-12 hours. I have been treating with ice which helps temporarily, but is not stopping the spread of the bruise. Is this a severe deep muscle bruise? Or could it possibly be a muscle tear?

Answer:

A bruise, or hematoma results from broken blood vessels in the skin or muscle.  Over time, the body breaks down the blood and it changes color and can also gravitate downward in the direction of gravity along loose fascial planes.  If you are taking aspirin or blood thinners, this can make the bleeding more severe.  I would recommend, however, that you consider physician assessment to determine if this bruising is the result of continued bleeding.  I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Charles Webster, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati