What Is a Chest Contusion?

FreeMD explains that a chest contusion is a bruise to the chest wall and the bruise involves the skin, muscles or ribs of the chest wall. A serious chest contusion possibly causes bleeding in the underlying muscle and subcutaneous tissues, leading to a chest hematoma. FreeMD lists the symptoms of a chest contusion as bruising, chest pain, swelling and chest wall tenderness.

Healthwise Incorporated explains that chest contusions occur due to falls or direct blows to the chest. Injury from bicycle handlebars, getting punched and car crashes are some of the most common causes of chest contusions. If an extremely forceful blow is delivered to the chest, it is possible to have injury in the lungs, airway, liver, spleen, heart and blood vessels in the chest. An injury to muscles, ribs or cartilage typically causes chest pain.

A chest contusion causes swelling, pain and a purplish discoloration, the University of Minnesota Medical Center states. It takes anywhere between a few days and several weeks to heal. For home care, rest is highly recommended. A person with a chest contusion must not lift anything heavy, do strenuous exertion or perform any activity that causes pain. The University of Minnesota Medical Center warns that prompt medical attention is necessary if a person experiences increasing chest pain with breathing, shortness of breath, dizziness or weakness, abdominal pain and fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.