Soft-tissue injuries include bumps and bruises (contusions) and small tears of muscles (strains) or of ligaments and tendons near joints (sprains)—see also Overview of Sprains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries.
Contusions, mild strains, and mild sprains cause mild to moderate pain and swelling. The swelling can become discolored, turning purple after a day and becoming yellow or brown days later. The person usually can continue using the body part. People with more severe symptoms, such as deformity, an inability to walk or use an injured part, or severe pain, may have a complete separation of bones that were attached within a joint (dislocation), partial separation of bones that were attached within a joint (subluxation), fracture, severe sprain or strain, or other severe injury. People with severe symptoms usually need medical care to determine the nature of the injury.
Contusions, mild strains, and mild sprains can be treated at home with protection rest, ice, compression, and elevation (PRICE), which speeds recovery and decreases pain and swelling. If a fracture, severe strain, severe sprain, subluxation (partial dislocation), or dislocation is a possibility, a splint should be applied until medical help is available.