chest contusion attorney manassas, virginia

Chest Contusions: What You Need to Know

A chest contusion is a bruise impacting the chest wall, which runs from the shoulders to the bottom of your ribs. It’s common in accidents, due to the blunt force trauma a victim may experience. You could get a contusion from the force of your seatbelt pulling you back, the impact of an airbag, or the force of hitting the steering wheel or dashboard.

A general injury to the chest wall can cause damage or pain to the underlying structures, including the collarbones, muscles, heart and lungs, and ribs.

Signs That a Chest Contusion is Worsening

In many cases, chest contusions are considered minor injuries. They may leave an ugly bruise for a few days, but they fade and leave many with no long-term effects. Others are more serious and can even cause fatal injuries. Some of the common signs of a chest contusion include pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness affecting the entire area.

Some symptoms are more concerning. They may indicate that a chest contusion has caused other, more serious injuries. Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • New abdominal pain, meaning pain in an area that felt fine after the accident
  • Worsening pain
  • A fever of 100.4 degrees or higher
  • Dizziness, fainting, and weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe pain that is consistent or comes and goes
  • Chest pain that worsens when you breathe

Injuries Caused by Chest Contusions

One of the scary parts of a chest contusion is the fact that it can cause so much permanent damage to the organs and soft tissue in your chest and abdomen. One injury that may result from a chest contusion is a bruised lung. Marked by a blue tinge to the skin, crackling sounds in the chest, wheezing, and coughing up blood, a bruised lung can cause severe or fatal injuries.

A chest contusion can also leave you with a respiratory infection. This can leave you struggling to breathe, fatigued, and generally unwell. If a respiratory infection goes untreated and does not clear up on its own, it can turn into pneumonia.

Pain that worsens when you breathe out or that gets worse when you move may be caused by broken ribs. While broken ribs may not have the same danger factor as the other items on this list, they are still painful and potentially dangerous. Most broken ribs heal on their own with rest and time, but some do require surgery. If a broken rib punctures the lung, it creates a pneumothorax that can lead to death.

What to Do If You Suffer a Chest Contusion

It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after impact. A doctor can listen to your symptoms, diagnose your injuries, and help you understand your treatment options. If you have a minor chest contusion, possible treatment options include:

  • Your doctor may recommend resting for days or weeks until you recover.
  • Padding the injured area. You’ll need to protect the chest area until it heals. Further injury could lead to dangerous outcomes.
  • Pain management. Pain medication may be required if breathing or sitting up is too painful for you. In many cases, rest and pain medication can help you make a full recovery.
  • Gentle stretching. As the muscles tighten up in the area, you’ll need to do some gentle stretching to help them loosen up. Only perform stretching as recommended by your doctor to avoid worsening the injury.

Start Your Injury Claim with Olmstead & Olmstead

The team at Olmstead & Olmstead is ready to help you find out if you have a personal injury claim. We’ve helped many victims injured on busy local streets, such as Grant Avenue, Stonewall Road, and State Highway 28. Schedule a consultation now by calling us at 703-361-1555 or contacting us online.

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