Corks/muscle contusions/bruises

Muscle contusions or bruises are often referred to as corks

What is a cork?

A cork is bruising of the muscle usually occurring after  blunt trauma. This causes a haematoma (a large bruise) to form. Sometimes, if it has occurred in the superficial muscles (close to the skin’s surface) you can physically see the bruising within a few hours. If the cork (or contusion) has occurred deep in the soft tissue, it can even take a few days or more to see the bruise!


How does it happen?

Usually you get a muscle contusion with contact sports such as rugby when another player’s knee or elbow impacts your body,  or in soccer when a player may get kicked in the thigh. The most common places to get a cork is on the quadriceps (thigh) and the arm around the biceps, or buttocks. You could also get a contusion through individual sports such as surfing (e.g. if you land on your board) or in a car accident.

How should you manage a muscle contusion?

If you have any pain with exercise or continuing the sport you were playing you should stop and rest. You should then apply ice (wrapped in a wet cloth) with the muscle on a slight stretch. For example, if you had a cork to the quad (front thigh muscle), you should keep the knee bent under you as you sit on a chair to apply the ice over the cork, and alternatively, if the cork is on your hamstring (back thigh muscle) you sit with the leg straight and apply the ice to the back of the thigh. You could apply the ice for 15 minutes on and 20 minutes off over the next 2-3 hours, then apply one to three times per day over the next 48 hours. In between icing, it is a good idea to apply compression to the affected area (such as a tubi-grip compression bandage) during the day to prevent further swelling.

What can go wrong if poorly managed?

A poorly managed cork can progress into myositis ossificans, where the excess bleeding and swelling calcifies – so essentially bone is forming within the muscle tissue and this will reduce the strength and flexibility of the muscle. It is worth noting that even with good management, it can sometimes occur.

Surgery for myositis ossificans is rarely warranted. If the myositis ossificans is removed before it is “mature,” it will likely return. Therefore, most surgeons wait between 6 and 12 months before even considering removal. Furthermore, there is a chance of return even when removed very late. Generally, myositis ossificans is only removed surgically if it interferes with joint motion or if it is irritating a nerve.

Examples of poor management of a cork:

  • someone who doesn’t rest long enough for the cork to heal and causes further bleeding in the area by exercising the muscle.
  • excessive alcohol consumption (which encourages further bleeding).
  • strong massage or application of heat packs or having hot baths (all of which promotes more bleeding into the damaged muscle)

When to seek further treatment

If you have done all the aforementioned first aid and your pain or function are not showing a good improvement after a few days, it is best to get it looked at by your physiotherapist. Your physio can assess you to make sure there are no other injuries and give you advice on when you can safely return to a graduated exercise program. Your physio can also work out when it is safe to begin other techniques such as massage/stretching etc.

Gold Coast Physiotherapy – Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach Physiotherapy Centres 07 5535 5218


Our Response to Covid-19

This page is up to date to our best knowledge, however, this is a rapidly evolving situation so we apologise for any potential delay in updating this information.

We want to reassure all our patients that we are following stringent infection control procedures in our clinic, and screen all people coming into the clinic, to exclude any patients that have any signs or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, as well as screening any patients that should be in isolation ie recently returned from overseas, or have been advised to isolate due to recent exposure with a known Covid-19 patient.

All our staff have now completed the Department of Health Covid-19 Infection Control Training.

What are we doing to minimise risk?

  • Screening patients for risk factors over the phone or through text messages before they attend appointments. Those with risk factors or symptoms are advised not to attend & to seek medical advice.
  • Hand sanitiser station at the front of the building must be used before you enter.
  • Following stringent infection control measures within the clinic. This includes
    • Disinfecting all beds, door handles, EFTPOS machine before and after each patient use.
    • Linen changed between each patient and commonly touched surfaces through the practice are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
    • Minimising the distances between clients in the waiting room- some chairs are outside undercover.
  • We have advised our team members not to come to work if they have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • We are following all Department of Health recommendations for our type of business.

On the 30th March 2020 – the Australian government issued a statement that “People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.”

The decision to come in for physiotherapy treatment really is an individual one – if you feel that your treatment is medically necessary, and are comfortable with the risks of leaving your home and coming to physiotherapy, then rest assured that when you attend our physiotherapy clinic, we are following our strict infection control processes and doing everything we can to minimise your risk whilst in our care. However, we completely understand if you are not comfortable with coming in for treatment.

TELEHealth Consultations

We are offering telehealth consults and home visits (where suitable) for patients who cannot attend our clinic.

Read more about TELEhealth Consultations here.

Staying Healthy

  • Wash your hands often (and for 20 seconds) with soap and water
  • Cough into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Social distancing practices – Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching, including shaking hands
  • Limit contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick and encourage employees to stay home when sick
  • Get 7-8 hours’ sleep a night to help your immune system stay strong
Please stay safe and take care of each other!

We are monitoring the situation very closely and will make adjustments to our business as we are further informed. Our priority is the health & well being of our patients and our staff. Thanks for your understanding.

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