How to Heal Sore & Bruised Muscles

When you participate in physical activities or sports, it is not uncommon to experience muscle soreness, and sometimes even bruised muscles. While some muscle soreness is normal after activities, bruising, or contusions, can signal a more serious injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, contusions are second to strains as the leading cause of sports injuries. While soreness and bruises usually heal quickly, without proper care and treatment, deep tissue damage can occur, leading to complications.

Step 1

See your doctor or a sports medicine specialist if you have bruising on a muscle. This could be a result of an injury to the soft tissue, including a muscle tear. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis so you can receive appropriate treatment and prevent further damage.

Step 2

Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen for pain relief. You can also use other over-the-counter pain relievers as well. If the pain is severe, talk with your doctor about short-term use of prescription pain relievers, if appropriate.

Step 3

Keep the muscle in a gentle stretch position and perform RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. This will help minimize bleeding, swelling and any soreness. You will probably need to do this for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury.

Step 4

Apply a muscle rub cream to your sore muscles, if the skin is not broken. These products are available in drug stores or supermarkets in the pain relief aisle and are available without a prescription. Check with your doctor to make sure it is safe to use on extensive bruising.


Do not return to sports before your doctor says it is safe to do so, even though you may feel fine. Returning to activity before your muscles are healed can cause further damage and delay healing.

If you start to experience extremely painful swelling where your muscle is bruised, this may be a symptom of compartment syndrome and can be serious. Call your doctor immediately to get it checked out.

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