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When should you worry about a hematoma?

A hematoma refers to the localized collection of blood outside of blood vessels, usually within tissues. It occurs when blood vessels are damaged or ruptured, leading to bleeding and the formation of a clot. While many hematomas are minor and resolve on their own, there are instances where they can become a cause for concern. It is important to monitor hematoma symptoms and know when it is time to seek medical attention. In this article, we will explore when you should worry about a hematoma and the appropriate steps to take.

Mild Hematoma Symptoms

In most cases, a hematoma may present with mild symptoms such as swelling, pain, and discoloration of the affected area. These mild symptoms can often be managed with self-care measures and home remedies. Applying ice packs, elevating the affected area, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can be helpful in alleviating symptoms.

However, it is crucial to be vigilant and watch for any worsening of symptoms. If the pain or swelling becomes severe or if you notice any signs of infection, such as increasing redness, warmth, or drainage from the site, it is time to seek medical attention. These symptoms may indicate an underlying issue that requires professional medical evaluation.

Severe Hematoma Symptoms

While most hematomas resolve without complications, there are instances where they can cause more severe symptoms. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek immediate medical attention:

1. Rapid or excessive expansion of the hematoma: If you notice that the hematoma is rapidly increasing in size or if it continues to expand over the course of a few days, this could be a sign of significant bleeding or an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.

2. Intense pain: Severe or unbearable pain associated with a hematoma could indicate the presence of nerve compression or injury. This requires medical evaluation to prevent potential complications.

3. Numbness or tingling: If the hematoma is compressing nerves or blood vessels, it can result in sensory disturbances like numbness or tingling. These symptoms should not be ignored and necessitate medical assessment.

4. Difficulty moving or using the affected area: If the hematoma is interfering with your ability to move or use the affected area, it is essential to seek medical attention. This could indicate muscle or joint involvement and may require prompt treatment.

It’s important to recognize that these severe symptoms may be indicative of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. While not all hematomas are cause for concern, certain situations warrant immediate medical evaluation.

Expanding Hematoma over a Few Days

If you notice that the hematoma continues to expand over the course of several days, it is important to consult a healthcare professional. While some minor hematomas may take time to resolve, an expanding hematoma could signal ongoing bleeding or an underlying problem that requires medical intervention.

The expansion of a hematoma over a few days can have various causes. It could be due to continued bleeding into the injured area, slow clot reabsorption, or even an undiagnosed underlying medical condition. A healthcare professional can assess your symptoms, perform a physical examination, and order any necessary tests to determine the cause of the expanding hematoma and guide appropriate treatment.

Types of Healthcare Professionals to Consult

When facing concerns about a hematoma, there are several types of healthcare professionals you can consult:

1. Emergency Medicine Specialists: If your symptoms are severe and require immediate attention, visiting the emergency department is recommended. Emergency medicine specialists are well-equipped to handle urgent hematoma cases and can provide prompt and comprehensive care.

2. Urgent Care Professionals: For less severe hematoma symptoms that still require timely evaluation, urgent care facilities are a convenient option. These healthcare professionals can assess your condition, provide appropriate treatment, or refer you to a specialist if needed.

3. Primary Care Physicians: Primary care physicians frequently care for patients with hematomas. They can diagnose a soft tissue hematoma through a physical examination. Additionally, they can provide guidance on self-care measures, monitor your symptoms, and refer you to a specialist if necessary.

Diagnosis of Hematoma

Diagnosing a hematoma typically involves a physical examination by a primary care doctor or a specialist. They will evaluate the size, location, and severity of the hematoma and assess any associated symptoms. In some cases, additional imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI may be ordered to get a better understanding of the extent of the hematoma and rule out any underlying fractures or injuries.

Treatment Options for a Hematoma

The treatment approach for a hematoma depends on the severity and underlying cause. In many cases, conservative management and self-care measures are sufficient. This may include rest, ice, compression, elevation of the affected area, and over-the-counter pain relievers.

However, in situations where the hematoma is causing significant pain, impairing mobility, or associated with other complications, medical intervention may be necessary. This can involve procedures such as drainage of the hematoma to relieve pressure or, in rare cases, surgery to remove the clot.

It is important to follow the advice and treatment recommendations of your healthcare professional. They will guide you through the appropriate course of action based on the size, location, and severity of the hematoma.


While most hematomas are not cause for immediate concern, there are situations in which you should worry and seek medical attention. Severe symptoms, rapid expansion, and ongoing expansion of the hematoma over a few days require professional evaluation. By consulting with the appropriate healthcare professional and receiving timely treatment, you can ensure proper management and resolution of the hematoma. Remember, it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.


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