An injured hip can leave a bruise. A bruise occurs when the small blood vessels tear but the skin doesn’t break. This causes the blood to leak into the surrounding soft tissue and muscle, which leads to the discoloration underneath the skin.
A bruise is often reddish in color when it’s fresh and turns blue or purple within a few hours. After a few days, a bruise usually turns yellow or green as it heals.
Read on to learn how to treat a bruised hip, when to see your doctor, and more.
Signs and symptoms of a bruised hip
The most obvious symptom of a bruised hip is the discoloration of the skin.
Other symptoms may not develop for up to 48 hours after the injury to your hip has occurred. The affected hip may feel stiff. You could have difficulty moving it, like when walking.
Pain often increases if any pressure is applied to the bruise. You might have swelling in the area or even a lump at or near the site of the bruise. The bruise itself often feels tender.
Possible causes of a bruised hip
The most common cause of a bruised hip is a fall, but any injury to the hip can lead to a bruise. Other causes of a bruised hip can include:
Diagnosing a bruised hip
Your doctor can diagnose a bruised hip by examining it. They may also use an MRI scan to determine the depth and extent of the bruise.
However, since bruises usually heal without treatment within a few days, you might choose not to visit your doctor.
But if pain is severe or it’s very difficult to move your hip, it’s important that you do go and see your doctor. They can check to ensure that your hip or leg isn’t in fact broken. To do this, your doctor will use an X-ray to confirm a diagnosis.
Call 911 or your local emergency services if:
- You’re in too much pain to move.
- You’re unable to put any weight on your hip.
- You have numbness in your leg or toes.
These symptoms suggest a serious injury that needs immediate medical attention. Any attempt to move in these circumstances could worsen your injury.
Treatment and management
A bruised hip will generally heal on its own in a relatively short time period. It often requires no medical treatment at all.
However, there are home remedies you can use to help speed the healing process, such as the RICE method:
- Rest. Limit your movement. This will allow the bruise to heal and help with pain management.
- Ice. Apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes every 4 hours. Use an ice pack or simply put ice cubes into a plastic bag. Cover the ice with a towel to protect your skin. Ice reduces pain and swelling and can help prevent tissue damage.
- Compress. Use an elastic bandage to compress the area and reduce swelling. Your doctor can provide guidance on how to use an elastic bandage and how tight it should be.
- Elevate. Raise your hip above the level of your heart as frequently as possible. This helps decrease swelling and pain. You can use blankets or pillows to raise your hip comfortably.
You may also choose to take over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever for your comfort, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). If you have swelling, OTC anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil), can help with this.
How long will recovery take?
The length of time it’ll take to recover varies depending upon the severity of your injury and the depth of the contusion. It may take as long as two to four weeks to recover fully. You can return to normal activities as soon as you feel able.
Don’t massage, heat, or stretch your injured muscles while you’re recovering. Doing so can hinder healing. Avoid or limit any alcohol use during recovery as well. Alcohol can also slow healing.
What’s the outlook?
A bruised hip can occur after any traumatic injury to the area. If the injury results in a bruise alone, a full recovery should be made quite soon.
Home remedies and OTC medications can help you heal. See your doctor if your pain doesn’t decrease after home treatment, or if you have any questions about your symptoms.