Hand Bruise

You have a bruise (contusion). 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

  • Raise (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. To make an ice pack, place ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the 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 medicine was prescribed, you can take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to control pain. Talk with your healthcare provider before using these medicines if you have chronic liver or kidney disease. Also talk with your provider first if you've ever had a stomach ulcer or digestive tract bleeding.

Follow up

Follow up with your healthcare provider as advised. Call if you don't get better in 1 to 2 weeks.

When to get medical advice 

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of the following occur:

  • 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, any of the fingers, or the joints of the finger

  • Frequent bruising for unknown reasons

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