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Hand Contusion

You have a contusion. This is also called a bruise. There is swelling and some bleeding under the skin, but no broken bones. This injury generally takes a few days to a few weeks to heal.  During that time, the bruise will typically change in color from reddish, to purple-blue, to greenish-yellow, then to yellow-brown.

Home care

  • Elevate the hand to reduce pain and swelling. As much as possible, sit or lie down with the hand raised about the level of your heart. This is especially important during the first 48 hours.

  • Ice the hand to help reduce pain and swelling. Wrap a cold source (ice pack or ice cubes in a plastic bag) in a thin towel. Apply to the bruised area for 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours the first day. Continue this 3 to 4 times a day until the pain and swelling goes away.

  • Unless another medication was prescribed, you can take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to control pain. (If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.)

Follow up

Follow up with your health care provider or our staff as advised. Call if you are not improving within 1 to 2 weeks.

When to seek medical advice 

Call your health care provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Increased pain or swelling

  • Arm becomes cold, blue, numb or tingly

  • Signs of infection: Warmth, drainage, or increased redness or pain around the bruise

  • Inability to move the injured hand 

  • Frequent bruising for unknown reasons


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