Everyone that plays contact sport, such as football, soccer or hockey, is at risk of getting a muscle corky or bruise.
This occurs when there is a direct blow against an area of the body by another player, equipment, or landing on a hard surface.
The direct blow damages the muscle, and it may be further compressed against the underlying bone.
A bruise is often a sign the muscles in the area have bled and swelled due to being contacted by a hard object.
Some people may bruise more easily than others, such as those who have a blood condition or are on blood-thinning medications.
Symptoms of a corked muscle
These injuries are often painful to touch and may cause you to limp. You will often be sorer after you have cooled down from an activity.
Most injuries though are minor and don’t result in missing games, although continuing to play on larger injuries may increase swelling and bleeding in the area.
Management of a corked muscle
- If this injury occurs, in the first 48-72 hours you should again rest, ice, compress, and elevate the injured area.
- Compression is very important as it will help limit the bleeding and swelling, and prevent further injury from happening.
- Icing should be applied with the muscle on gentle stretch.
- It is also important to avoid heat, alcohol, running and massage to the affected area as this further increases the bleeding and swelling.
If you have had a direct blow to an area playing sport, see one of the physiotherapists at North Adelaide or Mount Barker to help manage your corky and allow you to keep playing safely!
As soon as you are able, you should see a physiotherapist to assess the extent of the injury. They can also provide appropriate stretching and conditioning exercises, gentle massage to structures around the area, kinesiotaping to reduce swelling and bruising, and advice about how to prevent further injuries upon return to sport.
When restarting contact activities again, protective padding or some gentle compression tape around the injured area may be required.
The main complications that may occur after a severe corky include myositis ossificans or compartment syndrome. In myositis ossificans, calcification (small bone) occurs within the bruise as it heals and it may be felt as a hard lump in the area. This often is reabsorbed over time but pain on muscle stretch or contraction can occur.
Compartment syndrome occurs when a lot of muscle swelling occurs but is limited by thick, inflexible fascia in the limbs. This is a condition that requires prompt medical treatment as muscle and vessel damage can occur if not treated.