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Bruising from deep tissue massage/physiotheraphy: is this normal?

runrobotsrunrobots Member Posts: 3 Member Member Posts: 3 Member
Hey all. For those of you who've had a deep tissue/physiotherapy/sports massage on a tight area, is it normal to bruise along the areas that have been massaged?

I have tight calves anyway, but they became painful after I tried to get into running recently (I'm using the Bupa Beginner's 5K programme and was on to 3 minutes of running when the pain started). The pain was only occurring when I ran, and was still there despite resting and then running for less 2 minutes or less, so I looked into getting a deep tissue massage with a physiotherapist. The guy I saw is fully qualified and works both privately and at a local hospital (I can confirm this because my appointment was booked privately but to see him at the hospital, rather than through the UK's NHS system i.e. I pay for it). He looked at my calves, and did flexibility tests to confirm that my calves were tight before starting the deep tissue massage. Afterwards he showed me stretches to help with building up strength and flexibility in the calf.

This evening I've bruised upon some parts of my calves that have been massaged, and I want to ask is this normal or should I be complaining? I have a family member who's telling me I should be demanding a refund, but I want to find out if its normal before going down that route. He probably went too hard, even though I told him some parts were sore/tender. He even used this little tool, which looks a bit like an old-fashioned shoe-horn, to try and manipulate the muscle. Earlier I definitely had an increased range of motion, but this evening everything just feels really sore and tender :'(

I've never seen this physiotherapist before and I do have pale skin; I don't think I bruise more easily than most people.
edited January 2016


  • yesimpsonyesimpson Member Posts: 1,372 Member Member Posts: 1,372 Member
    I've had bruising from sports massage before (all 3 times I've had one), from pressure from the physio's thumb/elbow. I'm always sore afterwards, but like you say, my range of motion improves and any lingering stiffness or tightness is gone. However I do bruise easily, so it would depend on the extent of the bruising for me.
    I also don't have any ideas what the shoe horn thing was!
  • livingleanlivingcleanlivingleanlivingclean Member Posts: 11,755 Member Member Posts: 11,755 Member
    I think it's normal. Blood flow had increased to the surface.... I had a massage the other day and had cups used on me (dragged around my back...not stuck on one location) and ended up with bruises on the path the cup had taken. My whole body felt bruised and broken for a while as the therapist put in lots of pressure but a lot better now!
  • DaddieCatDaddieCat Member Posts: 3,674 Member Member Posts: 3,674 Member
    Can be entirely normal. Had a great massage last weekend. It wrecked me. After 24hrs, everything was golden and good again. Some bruising I can deal with as long as those knots get worked out.
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 18,388 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,388 Member
    Soreness, tenderness to the touch and some bruising I would consider normal from a vigorous sports massage.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 23,867 Member Member Posts: 23,867 Member
    If I'm not sore after a deep tissue massage, it wasn't hard enough. I'm sure I've been bruised.
  • runrobotsrunrobots Member Posts: 3 Member Member Posts: 3 Member
    Thanks for all the responses! I'm glad to know that bruising isn't uncommon, or at least not abnormal. Hopefully with some rest the tenderness and bruising will start to subside.
    edited January 2016
  • myssjaxsonmyssjaxson Member Posts: 89 Member Member Posts: 89 Member
    I see a deep muscle massage therapist 1-2x per month for my arthritis and etc, for about 18 months now. I've never had actual bruising after a session, but I've had days where I would check repeatedly because I could have sworn there was a bruise there, lol (soreness). If I did get a few bruises at times, I wouldn't worry though. Sometimes you have to go very deep/apply a lot of pressure to get to the problem if it's deeply rooted. That in in itself can hurt a lot and I'd say possibly cause damage (aka bruising) like that in short-term.
  • mwmixmwmix Member Posts: 31 Member Member Posts: 31 Member
    Bruising can occur in deep tissue massages, especially if you happen to bruise easily. The question of whether or not you should file a complaint or ask for a refund should have more to do with how the therapist explained the treatment to you. Did he check in regarding pressure? Did you ask him to use less pressure and he continued to apply an uncomfortable amount? Did he make you feel informed about the treatment?

    If you feel like you were mislead or that your expressed wishes were not respected, I would consider filing a complaint. Otherwise, I wouldn't be alarmed by light bruising, and it's quite normal to feel a bit sore the day or two after a deep tissue massage before you begin to feel better than you did initially. As a massage therapist who specializes in deep tissue massage, I do find that some people are uncomfortable speaking up when the pressure becomes a uncomfortable. Next time, don't be too shy to tell your therapist that what he's doing is painful; you won't hurt his feelings. Rather, he'll value your input and tailor your session to your needs. If he doesn't, find a new therapist.
  • bernierjanetbernierjanet Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
    I personally had such problems for a long time and I thought I would not escape. I had unbearable muscle aches and no massage helped me. In the end, I decided to try a self-massaging device from and I started to see the effect. I didn't expect the pain to go away gradually, but it really did. The advantage is that you do your own massage and feel exactly where you need it the most to press or not and in this way it is much more effective. I recommend with confidence.
    edited March 29
  • claireychn074claireychn074 Member, Premium Posts: 474 Member Member, Premium Posts: 474 Member
    I bruise sometimes after massage and frequently when I use a spiky massage ball myself. It goes after a few days and the key for me is how much more mobility I have after, and the easing of pain which led me to the massage in the beginning. So it is normal for some people, it will pass, and it sounds like he gave you stretches after which is great. Sports massages are not supposed to be light, relaxing things with scented candles!
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,847 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,847 Member
    Thread is from 2016 . . . guessing OP has either solved the problem, or learned to live with it by now?

  • claireychn074claireychn074 Member, Premium Posts: 474 Member Member, Premium Posts: 474 Member
    I’ve really got to check dates! 🤣 seem to have been quite a few zombie threads resurrected recently.
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