How do you know if a hematoma is serious?

Answered by Edward Huber

Hematomas can vary in severity depending on the location and size. While many hematomas are simple and do not cause complications, there are certain signs and symptoms that may indicate a more serious hematoma. It is important to be aware of these signs and seek medical attention if necessary.

1. Severe pain: If a hematoma is causing intense or worsening pain, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Pain that is not relieved with over-the-counter pain medications should be evaluated by a doctor.

2. Rapidly expanding hematoma: If a hematoma is growing rapidly in size, it could indicate an underlying injury or bleeding disorder. This may require medical intervention to prevent further complications.

3. Restricted movement or loss of function: If a hematoma is causing limited range of motion or affecting the function of a body part, it may be a sign of a more significant injury. For example, a hematoma near a joint may cause stiffness and difficulty moving the joint.

4. Excessive swelling: While some swelling is expected with a hematoma, excessive or persistent swelling could indicate a more serious problem, such as an infection or deep tissue damage.

5. Numbness or tingling: If a hematoma is compressing nerves or blood vessels, it may cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected area. This could be a sign of nerve or vascular damage and should be evaluated by a doctor.

6. Signs of infection: If the hematoma becomes red, swollen, warm to the touch, or starts oozing pus, it may be infected. Infections can lead to further complications and should be treated promptly.

7. Systemic symptoms: In some cases, a serious hematoma may cause systemic symptoms such as fever, chills, or fatigue. These symptoms may indicate a more widespread infection or underlying medical condition that requires medical attention.

It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, and individual situations may vary. If you have any concerns about a hematoma or are unsure of its severity, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your specific situation and provide appropriate advice and treatment if necessary.

Personal experience: I once had a hematoma on my leg after a sports injury. Initially, it was painful and caused some swelling, but it gradually improved with rest, elevation, and ice packs. However, if the pain had been severe or if I had experienced any of the aforementioned signs, I would have sought medical attention to ensure there were no underlying complications.