Hematoma vs. Hema-tomato!
Ok, so there are no hema-tomatos but it can look as red or purple as a tomato. So what is it? It is similar to a bruise which is a slow leakage from small blood vessels that causes black and blue discoloration. These usually heal without medical attention in 1-2 weeks.
Hematomas on the other hand, result form a severe injury, such as dropping a jar on you foot,q or hitting a tree with your shin while falling of your bike as my friend recently found out.! A large leakage form large vessels results causing blood to "pool" causing redness, significant pain, and swelling. We'll focus on foot and ankle hematomas here as that is my specialty. Hematomas in other parts of the body such as the head can be life threatening.
Initial treatment, for a lower extremity hematoma, involves Ice compress in the first 48 hrs and heat after that. These are usually applied 3-5 times a day for 15-20 minutes directly over the hematoma. Additional treatments include, elevating your leg above your heart, light compression bandage as well as Tylenol and rest. Do not take aspirin or Advil (ibuprofen) as these can slow blood clotting. Also rest, rest, rest. Do not continue to exercise while you have a hematoma as your condition can worsen or infection may develop.
If a hematoma is not getting better or is getting worse, more swollen, more painful, more red it could be infected or it could even require draining! Additionally, there can be a bone fracture or at least a bone bruise. X-rays are often obtained when this is suspected by the examining physician. These are symptoms not to be ignored as they could lead to serious long term problems.
If treated properly, a hematoma can last as long as 1-4 weeks but sometimes it can take months if there are complications. Don't let your hematoma take that long and call us today to schedule your evaluation.