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How Can I Treat a Bruised Forearm?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Bruising can occur for a number of reasons. For example, you may develop a forearm bruise after falling, bumping into an object, or having something fall on you. In most cases, you can treat a bruised forearm at home with ice and elevation. You can also use over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication to deal with any pain that accompanies it. In the event that you experience severe pain in connection with a bruise, however, you may do well to seek medical attention to ensure you don't have a fracture.

When you initially notice a forearm bruise, you may do well to begin applying ice to it. Generally, it helps to do this for the first day or two of the injury, as it reduces discomfort and associated swelling. Many experts recommend applying ice in 15-minute increments alternated with 15 minutes without the ice on the bruise. You can use a pre-made ice pack to ice the bruise or create one by wrapping ice in a clean, thin, damp cloth before applying it to the bruise. To avoid a mess as the ice starts to melt, you may do well to place the ice in a plastic bag that seals and then wrap the plastic bag in a cloth.

Sometimes, a bruised forearm is associated with pain in the area. While the pain of a bruise isn't usually excruciating, it can prove uncomfortable enough to interfere with your daily activities. OTC pain relievers are often helpful for reducing this type of pain. Usually, doctors recommend that patients take acetaminophen to treat a bruised forearm instead of ibuprofen or aspirin. Both aspirin and ibuprofen can cause bleeding and bruising to last for longer than expected.

Though it may be difficult to accomplish if you are a very active person, keeping your arm elevated might help reduce swelling as well as the discomfort associated with a bruised forearm. Medical experts typically recommend keeping the bruised part of your arm elevated above heart level. This typically seems most beneficial on the first day of the bruising, however.

While some pain and swelling is normal when you have a bruised forearm, there is a point at which experts typically advise seeking help from a doctor. If you have severe pain or discomfort that doesn't get better after a few days, medical attention may be warranted. Additionally, you may do well to see a doctor if you have unexplained forearm bruises.

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Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon976407 — On Nov 03, 2014

So, I suddenly developed bruised spots on one arm. I have not done anything to injure it, and they are not painful. What can I do to make them go away?

By candyquilt — On May 29, 2013

@ysmina-- If you can find vitamin K cream, that would be good. Vitamin K heals bruises quickly.

By ZipLine — On May 28, 2013

@ysmina-- It takes a while for large bruises to heal. It will take a few days for the pain to lessen and at least several weeks for the bruise to fade.

I suggest resting your arm. You may want to take a few days off and lie down as much as possible. Put your arm next to you, slightly elevated on a pillow. Try not to use that arm at all. If there is swelling, continue applying ice. If you continue to have pain or if the pain worsens, it might be more than a bruise. You might have injured a bone or muscle and you need to see a doctor in that case.

Oral pain relievers are good, but it might be more effective to apply a topical pain relieving ointment on the bruise instead. Just ask your pharmacists for a pain relieving ointment.

By ysmina — On May 27, 2013

I fell down while biking yesterday and bruised my forearm. I put ice on it as soon as I got home but my arm had been bruised for several hours by that time.

Today, the bruise is looking even worse and it hurts if I touch it even slightly. I took a pain relieving medication. Is there anything else I can do to relieve the pain and help the bruise heal faster?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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