With football and netball season well and truly underway, our physiotherapists are seeing an increasing number of “corkies”.  Muscle contusions (“corkies”) commonly occur following a knee to the thigh during a tackle or similar impact.  The impact to the muscle causes significant bruising and bleeding within the muscle and also between the muscle and the bone.

Damage can often be more significant than expected for a simple cause and these injuries should be assessed by a physiotherapist.  If not treated correctly, or too aggressively with massage, inflammation and bruising may actually increase causing a further delay in tissue healing.  A complication known as myositis ossificans may even occur where the bruised muscle repairs with bone cells rather than new muscle cells.

What to do?

Seek early assessment of “corkies”.  For the first 72 hours a RICER method of rest, ice, compression, elevation and rehabilitation should be implemented.  Heat, alcohol or aggressive massage after a “corkie” must be avoided!  In addition, minimise activities such as running, jumping, lunging or squatting in order to give the muscle sufficient time to heal.  Once cleared by your physiotherapist, later stage rehabilitation involves regaining strength and flexibility.  Massage and stretching can be useful during this period before a graduated return to running, training and games can be commenced.