How to Treat Paintball Bruises

Painting a picture of what happens when you get hit with a paintball is not easy. You feel like you are going to die and then you don’t. A pain so great that it feels like it will never go away completely. But there is hope! There are some things that can be done to ease the pain and make sure that the wound heals faster than if left alone. Here are some tips that can help you out:

1) Get medical attention immediately.

If you have been injured, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away. The sooner you seek treatment, the better chances of healing properly.

2) Don’t apply ice directly to your skin.

Ice only helps temporarily and can cause frostbite very quickly if applied too much. Apply cold compresses instead (wrapped tightly in gauze). These compressions will help reduce swelling and inflammation.

3) Wear loose fitting clothing.

Wearing tight clothes can cause blood clots to form which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Tight clothing also makes it harder for the body to heal itself because the blood vessels around the wound are constricted.

4) Avoid strenuous activity until at least 24 hours after getting hit with a paintball blast.

Strenuous exercise such as running, jumping rope, etc. can cause more damage to already damaged tissue and can delay healing as well.

5) Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.

) or Naproxen Sodium (Aleve). Make sure to follow all dosing instructions on the package. Don’t exceed more than 3 doses in a 24 hour period.

6) Go to bed and rest.

Getting enough sleep is essential for proper healing. Being tired can make you more susceptible to infection.

7) Avoid getting the wound wet and taking long baths, showers, etc.

until it has healed. This includes swimming pools, oceans, rivers, hot tubs, lakes, and any other bodies of water.

8) Do not scratch or pick at the wound.

Even though it itches like crazy this is a bad idea because this can cause infection and introduces more bacteria into the open wound area.

9) If your wound becomes red, swollen, warm to the touch, or painful then you need to seek medical attention right away.

10) If an area around the wound starts turning black then go see a doctor immediately. This is a sign of necrosis and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Necrosis means “death of an area of living tissue” and can be caused by a lack of blood flow to the area, bad healing, or other conditions.

How long do paintball bruises last?

Bruises last on average about 2 weeks to a month depending on size and severity. For instance this bruise on my arm is still lingering around.

Sources & references used in this article:

The treatment effect of cryotherapy, compression, a tobacco poultice, and the PolyMem SportsWrap on an experimentally induced bruise by JR Hawkins – 2009 –

Determining the relationship between skin color, sex, and subcutaneous fat and the change in bruise color over time by KRN Scafide – 2012 –

Target lesions and other paintball injuries by JA Sbicca, RL Hatch – The Journal of the American Board of …, 2012 – Am Board Family Med

Experimental animal models of bruises in forensic medicine–A review by K Barington, HE Jensen – SJLAS, 2015 –

Blunt impact as deterrent: Human approach-avoidance behaviors and other stress responses studied within a paintball gaming context by KR Short, MT Bergen, RM DeMarco… – … and design of …, 2006 –

Characterization of vascular structures and skin bruises using hyperspectral imaging, image analysis and diffusion theory by LL Randeberg, ELP Larsen… – Journal of …, 2010 – Wiley Online Library

An application of image processing techniques for enhancement and segmentation of bruises in hyperspectral images by HM Gundersen, BF Rasmussen – 2007 –

Paintball: dermatologic injuries by AR Ambay, EJ Stratman – CUTIS-NEW YORK-, 2007 – …