Bruises – A Serious Health Risk for Hoopers

December 1, 2011 Caroleeena healthHoopingUncategorized

I have been reading with growing alarm accounts of people hooping on bruises and even getting hematomas (lumps of displaced blood under the skin) and still continuing to hoop. It is scaring the pants off me!!! This is the most common public health issue for hoopers and it is much more dangerous than most people realize.




We should never, ever, never ever, batter a bruise. Some people think it’s a badge of honor (I can’t tell you how many people have said that to me) but what it is is a danger to your health — both now and in the future, long after you’ve forgotten this bruise. Any emergency room doctor will tell you that a bruise is a trauma injury. Bruises are to be nursed until they heal. No other animal would get a bruise and continue to beat on it. It just ain’t natural! But if you’ve ever had a car accident and gotten a big bruise, your doctor probably explained to you the importance of not continuing to injure that area. For the rest of us though, unless you have access to someone in sports medicine, you probably don’t know this.




A bruise is a broken blood vessel (either a vein, an artery or a capillary) beneath the skin. The discoloration comes from leaking blood under the skin. As soon as the break happens, the blood starts to clot to stop the bleeding. If you keep battering it, you increase the likelihood of releasing a clot into the bloodstream. Clots in the bloodstream can cause heart attack, stroke, varicose veins and numerous other very bad things, some of which you can die from, some of which don’t manifest for years. Do not hoop on bruises. Let them heal. And tell other hoopers. I can’t stress enough how important this is.


A hematomoa is similar to a bruise. It is a collection of blood outside of a blood vessel and occurs when the wall of the blood vessel (artery, vein or capillary) has been damaged and blood has leaked where it doesn’t belong. It can cause a swelled lump that may be tiny but they can get pretty big also. If you have one of these, stop hooping on it! Know that hematomas are made from old blood. A hematoma has no blood supply of its own and is therefore at risk for colonization with bacteria, which can cause problems for adjacent organs as well. Adjacent areas can also be affected by swelling. Swelling is never good for us. Treatment is often tailored to the patient according to the location of the hematoma and whether or not the patient can take blood thinning drugs and/or ibuprofen. Most hematomas can be treated with RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. I also recommend treating it with Arnica lotion and if it doesn’t start to go down in a couple of days, see a doctor.


Pay attention to your body! Yes, your mother was right. You can overdo it with hooping. Let yourself heal.  Take a break or at least practice on another site.


Treatment of Bruises

– Rest the bruised area. This promotes healing by taking undue pressure from the bruised area and prevents further injury.

– Apply ice packs to the bruised area. This will help keep the bruise from spreading. Alternate periods of ice application with equal periods of non-application to ensure the tissue does not become numb.

– Use an elastic wrap to put pressure on the bruised area. This pressure helps to limit blood flow to the bruise.

– Elevate the bruised area above heart level. This helps stop blood from gathering in the surrounding tissue.

– Apply Arnica lotion and/or ointments containing Vitamin K on the bruised area. Arnica floods the area with new healing blood cells. Vitamin K aides the body’s blood absorption. Less blood in the area will reduce the size of the bruise.

– Some people can take acetaminophen for pain relief but this really depends on whether or not you can take it. I find Arnica gives me all the pain relief I need. It has natural analgesic properties and provides pain relief on contact.


Arncia lotion helps bruises heal faster and will get you back in your hoop faster. A bruise can take 10 or so days to heal. Arnica reduces that healing time TREMENDOUSLY! You can get it at any natural foods store. A tube costs less than $10 and will last for years. Every hooper should have it on them all the time. It’s the most valuable medicine in my hooper’s med kit. (Note: I have read that some people have a skin allergy to Arnica. In all my years using it I have never seen this but I want to point it out just in case. If you get a rash, stop using it.)


You can also pad areas. Fingerless gloves are great for padding the back of the hands while they toughen up and your technique improves. You can stuff a folded wash cloth down the front of your jeans to protect  your hip bones. You can wear dancer’s kneepads on your knees.


You might also switch to a lighter hoop or, conversely, add several layers of tape to your hoop to make it more grippy. Bruises are usually caused not by a hoop going over and over a place but from catching a bit of air and coming down hard on a place. It is a blunt force trauma injury. Anything you can do to prevent that, will help, including using grip tapes and grippy clothes.


Again, I can’t say it enough, do not hoop on bruises. Please tell others also — Do not hoop on bruises. If your bruises are your badge of honor, take a picture of them and then let them heal! This is a public health issue that affects many, many hoopers and I cannot stress the importance of it enough. We must spread the word. I love my hooper friends and I want you all to live long, happy, healthy lives. Please pass the word.


Hoop Bruises

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