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Hematoma in Leg

Hematoma in leg, is a medical condition in which a specific area of the lower leg gets swollen due to injury. To know more about its symptoms, read on...
Nicks J
Last Updated: Apr 13, 2018
Hematoma in leg, is a type of injury in the lower leg. In this condition, blood clots in the injured area of the leg. In other words, blood does not flow properly through that area. Blood vessels in the injured portion of the leg completely break. A direct blow, to the leg, with a blunt object often gives rise to this condition. It is essential to keep the injured leg elevated (raised), so that the blood circulates away from the spot that is swollen. This in turn helps to subside the hematoma.
Symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the injury. However, symptoms can turn grave, if treatment is neglected. Swelling over the injured area is the most common symptom of this leg injury. Other symptoms of leg hematoma are as follows:
  • Leg pain
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Tenderness
  • The affected area turns red. The injured area does not necessarily remain red and is likely to fluctuate from black to blue.
Hematomas generally clear away on their own. It is essential to rest the affected leg, as this will allow the muscles to heal faster. One can use an ice pack to get relief from the pain. Put ice chips in a plastic bag, wrap the bag in a towel and place it over the affected area of the leg for 20 minutes. Repeat this procedure 3 to 4 times a day. One way to accelerate the healing process is to increase blood circulation in the portion of the leg. Hot baths can definitely promote healing in the injured area. Applying a heat ointment can do wonders in healing the injury. One can also place a heating pad to increase the blood flow in the injured area. Doctors also recommend to use heat lamps, compresses and whirlpools, to reduce the hematoma.

For minor pain and discomfort, doctors may prescribe painkillers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Topical ointments and liniments are also useful in this regard. A stronger medicine is often recommended for severe pain. Never use aspirin (available over the counter) to treat pain associated with hematoma. This is because aspirin provides an anticoagulant effect and hence its usage can actually worsen hematoma. For larger hematomas, the healing process is slow and may take several weeks or even several months. In such a case surgical procedures are used to drain expanding hematomas. In some patients hematoma is developed over the shin bone, and requires immediate surgery.
Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is a must, to speed up recovery. Make sure that the patient's diet contains extra protein to regain muscle power. Foods rich in protein like meat, fish, cheese, poultry, eggs and milk should be consumed. One should consume food that have high amount of vitamin C. Citrus fruits such as orange, lime and grapefruit are a rich source of vitamin C, and intake of these fruits ensure a speedy recovery of the injury.
Risk Factors
Bleeding that causes pooling of blood below the skin is not always related to trauma. For instance, people have shown signs of leg hematoma despite not suffering from any physical injury. This has been attributed to blood clotting disorders that may occur due to intake of anticoagulants. To simply put, people put on blood thinners or anticoagulants have higher chances of getting hematoma in leg. These drugs are formulated to prevent clotting of blood, which in turn encourages internal bleeding. This may cause accumulation of blood anywhere below the skin. Patients diagnosed with low blood platelets (cells that help blood to clot and prevent bleeding) may also suffer from hematoma in leg.

People suffering from varicose veins  in the lower body may also show symptoms of leg hematoma. In this blood circulation problem, the veins becomes chronically large and fail to work properly. As a result, the blood gets collected in these veins, eventually causing hematoma. Painful legs, swollen ankles and change in skin color around ankles are some of the most common symptoms of varicose veins. People doing jobs that require standing for prolonged periods of time, usually fall prey to varicose veins
Possible Complications
Many people tend to neglect treatment associated with leg hematoma, however, this can make matters worse. If the hematoma becomes large, it may cut off blood circulation to the surrounding tissues. Other complications in large hematoma generally include, nerve and muscle damage causing a weak foot.
Preventing Hematoma
Sports related injuries often cause leg hematoma. People who participate in contact sports such as rugby, ice hockey, basketball and American football, are at great risk of leg injury. The best way to prevent this medical condition is to minimize the impact of the injury. This can be easily achieved by wearing protective personal equipment such as shin pads during any athletic activity. On the whole, wearing protective equipment while playing any sport is also very important to reduce the risk of hematoma. For instance, when taking part in American football, do not ignore wearing the helmet, shoulder, thigh and the knee pads that essentially act as shock absorbers and prevent hematoma.