Should you massage a hematoma?

Answered by John Hunt

It is generally not recommended to massage a hematoma. Massaging the injured area can potentially aggravate the hematoma and delay the healing process. Hematomas occur when blood vessels are damaged, leading to the accumulation of blood in the surrounding tissues. Applying pressure or massaging the area can further disrupt the blood vessels and worsen the condition.

When a hematoma occurs, it is important to follow the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) during the first 48 hours. Resting the injured area allows the body to commence the healing process. Applying ice helps reduce inflammation and swelling, while compression with a bandage or wrap helps to limit the accumulation of blood and fluid. Elevating the affected area above the heart level can also aid in reducing swelling.

After the initial 48 hours, when the hematoma has started to stabilize, gentle exercise and stretching can be beneficial for promoting blood flow and preventing stiffness in the surrounding muscles. It is important to avoid any activities or movements that cause pain or discomfort.

It is worth noting that the time it takes for a hematoma to heal can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. While most small hematomas will resolve relatively quickly, larger or more severe hematomas may take longer to fully heal. During the healing process, it is common to feel a raised lump or firmness in the area, which should gradually diminish over time.

In my personal experience, I had a hematoma on my thigh after a sports injury. Initially, I tried massaging the area to alleviate the discomfort, but I soon realized it was making the hematoma more tender and extending the healing time. Following advice from a healthcare professional, I stopped massaging and focused on rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This allowed my hematoma to heal more quickly and effectively.

It is best to avoid massaging a hematoma. Instead, focus on rest, ice, compression, and elevation during the first 48 hours. After that, gentle exercise and stretching can be beneficial, as long as it does not cause pain. If you have any concerns or the hematoma does not improve over time, it is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.