How Do I Treat a Bruised Hand?

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.

A bruised hand may produce pain and swelling.

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.