Contusions are usually caused by bumps to the skin. This may happen from falling, bumping into something, or being hit or kicked.

Risk Factors

Almost everyone gets contusions. Those with a higher risk are:

  • Kids and teens
  • People who play contact sports
  • People with blood-clotting problems
  • People who are taking blood thinners, such as aspirin



Contusions may cause:

  • Skin discoloration—usually blue and/or purple, fading to yellow
  • Pain
  • Swelling


Contusions are diagnosed by physical exam of the skin.



The goal is to reduce swelling and pain by:

  • Putting ice or a cold pack on the injured area
  • Raising the injured area above the level of the heart
  • Taking pain medicine, as advised by the doctor


Using proper safety equipment can help prevent contusions.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.