4 month old scar still hurts..
December 15, 2006 4:48 PM   Subscribe

4-month old leg injury filter: I scraped up my leg really bad 4 months ago. It healed, it scarred, it still hurts. Now what?

I tripped over a desk drawer this summer and got a lovely pair of 6-inch long scrapes on my left leg. The skin has healed and now there's a couple of big scars, which sucks, but is bearable.

Unfortunately, it feels like I still have a pair of 6-inch long bruises on my leg. They hurt when I touch them or when I'm standing for a long period of time. Can I do anything about it so long after it's healed?

I ask that blanket suggestions for 'Go see a doctor' be filtered through the no-medical-insurance-and-not-much-money-filter, and backed up by personal experience (I saw a ___ doctor and he/she gave me ____ and it magically fixed everything)

posted by sirion to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
If damage is sufficiently bad, full healing is impossible. That's why there's a scar instead of normal tissue. Sometimes such scars are painful essentially forever. It may be something you just have to get used to living with.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:56 PM on December 15, 2006

If there's any sign of infection - localized swelling, the area around the scars warmer than it should be - you may have a low-grade infection. It's been four months, which is kind of a long time for an infection to manifest itself, but still. If this is the case, you do need to see a doctor, since an infection under a closed wound is bad news. IANAD, and this is not medical advice. I had a subcutaneous infection that turned into an abscess, which required 10 days of antibiotics and a couple of visits to the doctor for draining/cleaning of the area.

Your city/town/etc. probably has at least one free clinic. It may take a while to get an apointment, but you've waited this long, so why not.

Otherwise, try bathing/soaking the area in warm water, maybe. It'll make it feel better, at least. I have a big surgical scar - not from the abscess - that hurt for quite a long time after it healed. Scar tissue can kind of tighten things up, and that might be causing the pain you're experiencing.
posted by rtha at 5:41 PM on December 15, 2006

How long has the skin been healed over for. A few years back, I scraped up my palms really badly. Took 3-4 months to finally heal over the scabs and they were still sensitive to touch for a month afterwards.
posted by jmd82 at 6:20 PM on December 15, 2006

When I was sixteen I cut my finger on a can of corned beef. The edge of the can sliced right down to the bone.

I am now forty-eight and that scar still hurts at certain times. It has gotten better but it is definitely noticeable.

The answer is probably "you can't tell, but there's nothing seriously wrong if it continues to hurt".
posted by jet_silver at 8:06 PM on December 15, 2006

My story about why you should go to the doctor:

When my brother scraped his leg really badly and did not tell anybody, we found out after several months that he had a severe blood infection. He had to spend a week in the hospital, and was told he could have lost his leg. He honestly believed until a few days before he passed out from the infection that his leg was mostly healed. Antibiotics would have prevented this.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:55 PM on December 15, 2006

I actually have a similar situation, I got a cut on my leg and it healed but is still red and raised, and it hurts to the touch, but it's just a small sore...

After reading this I think I will go to the doctor as I have insurance.

There are many ways for the uninsured to get insurance, and it is vital - what if you were more seriously injured? You can get short-term insurance from a lot of places, if you're a student you can get insurance there. If you don't get insurance, there are tons of free or cheap clinics. I notice on your profile you use the tag Los Angeles a lot so I did a quick search: http://www.lafreeclinic.org/

If that one doesn't apply, there is always more. Health care is always available, and if you don't have your health...(I know a bruise isn't serious, but please consider what might happen)

Best of luck.
posted by jesirose at 10:08 PM on December 15, 2006

I agree with the above about signs of infection, redness, warmth, a weird itchy feeling, anything like that. If you see those then find a free clinic or something and get it sorted.

But your description, feels like a bruise, sounds a lot like when I scraped up my leg on a nail. The top healed over but it takes a long time for the stuff underneath to sort itself out and that scar hurt for six to eight months (from the scar forming, not from the injury). The scar faded a lot in that time and now it's fairly difficult to see. I also have a scar on the palm of my hand where I rammed a stone deep into the flesh (fell off my bike). It took a full year to stop hurting (that sore bruised feeling inside, plus some throbbing when it was cold or I typed too much) and another year before banging it on something didn't hurt.

If it's a tight, thickened scar tissue then some kiknd of bio-oil could help (see your pharmacist), but if it's inside then it's probably just tissue still knitting together and remodelling. Healing is a slow process. Your leg is still getting better.

(infection is a big deal so really, any doubt about that get it seen to)
posted by shelleycat at 10:27 PM on December 15, 2006

Arnica gel can help ease the pain of bruising.

Some say teasel root tincture can help injured muscle tissues weave back together in a healthy way--you might research this.

(I am not an herbalist or doctor).
posted by Riverine at 2:53 PM on December 16, 2006

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