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How Do I Treat a Bruised Hand?

By Madeleine A.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A bruised hand is generally treated with anti-inflammatory medications and rest. As soon as the injury occurs, ice should be applied to the affected area, though ice should not be applied directly to the skin because tissue injury or an ice burn can occur. Instead, ice should be placed in a soft cloth or inserted into an ice bag. An effective alternative to an ice pack is a package of frozen vegetables. The patients should apply ice for about 15 minutes, four times per day.

Also known as a hand contusion, a bruised hand can produce pain, swelling, and decreased mobility. To rule out broken bones or other severe damage, the health care provider might recommend an x-ray, MRI, or ultrasound of the hand. If a broken bone has been detected, the hand may be put into a cast or simply splinted. Even though a bruised hand is not considered a serious condition, it can result in persistent pain, especially if the nerves of the hand are injured.

In conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications and the application of ice, the health care provider may recommend occupational therapy services in cases where the bruised hand is causing extreme pain, immobility and loss of strength. Occupational therapy will help restore mobility and help promote circulation and blood flow, thereby, speeding the healing process. Sometimes, the occupational therapist will suggest a paraffin wax hand bath. The warm paraffin wax helps decrease pain and stiffness, while helping to reduce muscle spasms and inflammation.

Keeping the bruised hand elevated higher than the level of the heart can also help reduce swelling and pain. When lying down, the hand should be propped up on pillows, which will elevate the limb and increase blood flow to the injury. Occasionally, depending upon the nature of the injury, a bruised hand may be accompanied by a break in the skin. When this occurs, the wound needs to be cleaned with mild soap and warm water, and monitored for signs of infections. If the person notices redness, inflammation, pus drainage, or excessive bleeding, he needs to contact his health care provider.

Until the bruised hand is completely healed, the health care provider might recommend that driving be avoided. Proper driving requires the use of both hands on the steering wheel, and failure to drive in this manner might result in loss of control, contributing to an accident. Furthermore, if the individual is taking prescription pain relievers for his injury, it might also be recommended that he avoid operating a motor vehicle.

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Discussion Comments
By anon980811 — On Dec 07, 2014

I had a severe fall and bruised my left hand a week ago. My hand is still bruised but the swelling is slowly going down, but it's still very painful.

By kylee07drg — On Aug 08, 2012

Having a bruised hand is really painful. There is just so much that we do with our hands every day, and I didn't realize until I bruised mine badly just how much I rely on them.

Suddenly, I had to do everything with one hand. I couldn't multitask like I normally do, and some things seemed downright impossible.

Rest is a really important part of bruise treatment, though. I knew that I shouldn't use my hand until it had healed, even though life was so hard without it.

By healthy4life — On Aug 07, 2012

@shell4life – Ouch! That sounds bad. I believe I would stay away from that dog for awhile!

I don't know what I would do if I got a bruised tendon in my hand. I do nothing but type all day long at my job, so I would have to take some time off and lose money.

The sad thing about bruises is that there really isn't anything you can do to make them go away quickly. You can take steps to reduce the time it takes to heal, but still, you will have a healing process to go through, and that takes time.

By giddion — On Aug 06, 2012

I have used bags of frozen peas before on areas that were likely to bruise, but they were just too cold to leave on my skin for more than a minute or so. Some people can do this, but I am extremely sensitive to the cold.

Wrapping ice in a towel is a better method for me. Even though the towel does get cold, it doesn't get nearly as cold as a bag that has just come out of the freezer.

If I have towel-wrapped ice, I can keep it on the area for fifteen minutes. This is plenty of time to help prevent swelling and bruising.

By shell4life — On Aug 06, 2012

A bruised hand can be really painful. My dog scratched the back of my hand last week, and this turned into a bruise that was very sensitive.

The scratch ran along a tendon and went through a blood vessel. I washed the area with soap and water, and then I applied a liquid bandage to stop the bleeding and prevent germs from getting into my wound.

Still, I had the bruise to deal with. I had to avoid doing things that required using this tendon for a few days, like typing.

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