Contusion vs Concussion – Differences

This article reveals the differences between contusion vs concussion:


A contusion, or a bruise, occurs when blood vessels are broken or damaged as the result of a blow to the skin. It is the second most common sports injury after strains.

Types & Symptoms

Knee Contusion

It is the outcome of any knee injury that causes bruising, swelling, or tenderness below the kneecap. It is a very common injury that is typically caused by repeated blows to the knee.

Pulmonary Contusion

It typically occurs after a direct injury to your chest, and it refers to the bruising and bleeding of the lung tissue which may make it difficult to breathe. Left unchecked, it can have life-threatening consequences.

Hip Contusion

You will notice this type of contusion after a hip injury. Other causes can include:

  • hip fracture;
  • hip strain;
  • being hit with a large object;
  • being kicked;
  • banging into an object.

You may not have symptoms for 48 hours after the injury. If the injury is severe, you may require an X-ray to check for broken bones.

Foot Contusion

Anything from blunt-force injuries to ill-fitting shoes can cause foot contusions. This injury usually takes several days to a few weeks to heal. Applying ice immediately after injury for approximately 15 minutes every hour will help limit swelling and internal bleeding.

Bone Contusion

It is caused by a forceful impact during sports, accidents, or a direct hit. It is a frustrating injury that can take months to heal.

Symptoms include:

  • pain that lasts longer than the symptoms of a typical bruise would;
  • trouble bending or using the affected area;
  • tenderness;
  • stiffness or swelling.

Head Contusion

It may be the outcome of a car accident, a fall, or any sports-related accident. It may cause swelling around the area where the head was struck. Repeated head contusions can permanently damage the brain.

If you sustain a head contusion call your healthcare provider as soon as possible, especially when you experience:

  • anxiety or irritability for no apparent reason;
  • problems with coordination or balance;
  • problems thinking, concentrating, or making decisions;
  • saying things that don’t make sense;
  • slurred speech;
  • sensitivity to light;
  • blurred vision;
  • headaches;
  • vomiting;
  • trouble remembering what happened right before the injury.

Muscle Contusion

It is an injury to the connective tissues and muscle fibers. It can limit the joint range of motion near the injury, and it causes pain and swelling. It usually takes 14 to 21 days to heal, depending on the graded severity of the injury.


You may have a contusion near an area where you have had plasma or blood taken for medical tests. Also, a twisted knee or ankle can cause a bone bruise. Furthermore, a strained muscle or a hard object can leave a bruise on the skin.

Risk Factors

Risk factors include:

  • weakened skin and muscles from poor nutrition or older age;
  • a bleeding disorder that makes you bleed more easily;
  • the use of certain over-the-counter medicines or blood thinners;
  • a family history of bleeding problems;
  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease.


The pain, skin discoloration, and swelling of a contusion are sufficient to diagnose the condition.

Note – signs of a contusion may not appear until hours after the injury.


Rest is the most appropriate way to allow your body to recover from a bruise. Furthermore, a healthcare provider will use antibiotics to treat infections in the body which may increase the swelling. Also, surgery may prevent further damage and reduce swelling caused by bruising.

Head Concussion

It is a mild traumatic brain injury that is caused by a jolt, bump, or blow to the head.

About 2 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in the US every year, according to the CDC. Also, their research shows that most of these injuries occur in teen athletes.

For females, the leading cause of high school sports concussion is soccer, whereas for males the leading cause of high school sports concussion is football.

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Common symptoms may include:

  • fatigue;
  • a feeling of pressure in the head;
  • appearing dazed;
  • headache;
  • delayed response to questions;
  • temporary loss of consciousness;
  • slurred speech;
  • feeling as if in a fog;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • ringing in the ears;
  • dizziness or “seeing stars;”
  • amnesia surrounding the traumatic event;
  • confusion.


Complications that may develop include:

  • formation of a blood clot;
  • internal bleeding in the brain (intracerebral or intracranial hemorrhage);
  • internal swelling in the brain (cerebral edema).


Any sport which involves contact can result in a concussion.

Among children, most concussions occur while bike riding, on the playground, or when playing sports like basketball, football, or soccer.

For adults, falls, motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries are the most common causes of concussions.

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Risk Factors

Risk factors include:

  • having had a previous concussion;
  • falling, particularly in older adults and young children;
  • being a victim of physical abuse;
  • participating in a high-risk sport, like – hockey, soccer, football, boxing, rugby, or other contact sport;
  • being a soldier involved in combat;
  • being involved in a bicycle or pedestrian accident;
  • being involved in a motor vehicle collision;
  • participating in high-risk sports without proper supervision or safety equipment.


Hearing and vision may be checked. Also, coordination and balance may be evaluated.

Moreover, a physical examination may include looking for paralysis, weakness, or change of sensation in the body as well as a complete neurologic examination.


The majority of concussions do not need surgery or any major medical treatment. However, you might need surgery or other medical procedures if you have:

  • a serious injury to the brain;
  • swelling of the brain;
  • bleeding in the brain.

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Contusion vs Concussion – Differences

A contusion, commonly known as a bruise, happens when blood vessels are damaged or broken after an injury. It results from localized trauma.

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that is caused by a bump or a blow to the head. Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • mood changes;
  • sleep disturbances;
  • memory problems;
  • confusion;
  • fatigue;
  • nausea;
  • headache.

In conclusion, a contusion is a bruise that may happen in almost all parts of the body, while a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury.

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1 thought on “Contusion vs Concussion – Differences”

  1. in 2015 I was struck on the left side of my head and neck by an overhead lamp that came loose, swung down hitting me and knocked me to the floor. I am an American living in Sweden. I was taken to the ER but only xrayed for broken bones and sent home. I did not get a ct scan for over six months later and have been refused a neurology visit due to my pacemaker. my headaches tinnitus confusion anxiety and a lot of other things seem to be getting worse and no one here seems to care.


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