Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: How to Manage a Bruised Hand

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: How to Manage a Bruised Hand

Contusions, often referred to as bruises, are common occurrences in our day-to-day life. They occur with impact, crushing or twisting forces, or a direct blow to the hand. They disrupt blood flow and lead to pain, swelling, and limited range of motion. Contusions can occur at the level of the skin, muscle, or bone.

When sustained during sport, exercise, or physical tasks, there is potential for a severe contusion. When contusions occur at the same time as other serious injuries such as fractures, dislocations, or traumas involving another body part, they may be overlooked initially. If not addressed, contusions can lead to more severe conditions.

Consulting a medical doctor is necessary to determine the severity of the injury. When medical care is not needed, common practice includes using the RICE acronym: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Your medical provider may also prescribe hand therapy to assist with managing the symptoms and restoring movement so that you can safely return to your routines more quickly.

A hand therapist has extensive knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the upper extremity and will offer a variety of techniques geared toward rehabilitation of your hand. These include the use of therapeutic modalities, custom or prefabricated orthoses, exercises, and activity modifications to name a few.

To find a hand therapist in your area, ask your medical doctor or use for a list of qualified clinicians.


Stephanie Carlson-Ballone, OTD, OTRL, CHT is a Certified Hand Therapist and a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists.