Black and Blue
February 15, 2005 9:29 AM   Subscribe

How do I know when a bruise is something that I should have a doctor should look at? [mi]

While snowboarding last Friday, I took a really rough fall. It hurt quite a bit and pretty much kept me from boarding that day, and even walking was tough. I can walk better, but the area (left hip from a bit above my waist to about halfway down my thigh) is severely bruised and swollen. It was one bruise above my waist until just last night I noticed a smaller bruise on my leg had blossomed into a six of so inch long display of blacks, reds, and purples. The one above my waist had been quite large since Saturday. The area is swollen and tender.

When can I expect this to be healed? Should I see a doctor? My hip's not broken (I imagine I wouldn't be walking much), but could there be something else wrong?
posted by bDiddy to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
i too was snowboarding 3-4 weeks ago, and i beleive i fractured a rib. i read up on fractured ribs and determined seeing a doctor would be prett useless, so i've just been trying to lay low. it's still hurting about the same. anyone have any thoughts?
posted by quadrinary at 9:52 AM on February 15, 2005

Is there a reason you don't want to see a doctor? I would say that if it's causing you significant pain or interfering with function, I'd make an appointment.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 10:04 AM on February 15, 2005

There's always a possibility of complications, especially if the bruised area is large. If you're even slightly worried, go see the doctor. Fractures can occur in the bones and still not prevent you from walking, so don't use that as an absolute indicator.

The amount of time to completely dissipate will depend on the size and your body. The blood released (that first appears dark purple) has to be broken down to be reabsorbed, that's why it turns colors over time. It will tend to pool in low places due to gravity, so the bruise may seem to move over time as well.
posted by tommasz at 10:20 AM on February 15, 2005

After a couple run-ins with untreated injury, neither of which involved bruises, I've learned "when in doubt, see a doctor." You just never know, and if nothing else you'll feel better knowing nothing is wrong and the best pain medicaiton to take (example: ibeprofin should help calm swelling as well as reduce pain, I believe.).
posted by lorrer at 10:31 AM on February 15, 2005

Heh. I went snowboarding last Thursday and vowed to never go again after the third (hard) fall in a row on my coccyx. I can now finally sit down without any pain.

At any rate, quadrinary, I fractured a rib in wrestling and it took about 2-3 weeks to heal. I was only 15 though, and it wasn't a bad fracture. See a doctor (i'm not one!) - even if it's just to have her tell you you're just going to have to wait it out (sounds likely). At least you'll sleep better knowing that there's nothing else wrong with you, right?

bDiddy, it's only been four days, right? I often won't get large bruises from martial arts until the day after training - which is about how long it said yours took to develop. See a doctor to make sure there's no fractures, though.
posted by cactus at 10:42 AM on February 15, 2005

I think you should go to the doctor. A few years back I was sliding a railing and I slipped and landed on my thigh. Although, nothing was broken, the bruise was so deep and severe that it took a good week for the swelling and bruising to reach it's maximum (my leg was HUGE), and then the swelling spent another 3 weeks or so gradually progressing down my leg. Since my leg was swollen so badly around my knee, I spent about a month on crutches and then another 2 in physical therapy (since I couldn't bend it). so I'd recommend getting it checked out!
posted by ilovebicuspids at 10:34 PM on February 15, 2005

I've been bollocked by a doc before for assuming a twisted ankle was a twisted ankle and that it couldn't be fractured as I was able to walk on it, even though I'd actually had a trauma specialist doctor friend give it a once over at the scene of the accident ("Does she have X-ray eyes?"). Go and see your doctor.
posted by biffa at 2:29 AM on February 16, 2005

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