Paintballs are nowhere near as dangerous as real bullets, but hard strikes can still leave nasty, painful bruises and welts. In this article, we will look at how to prevent paintball bruises, and some effective treatment options for the same.
If you play paintball regularly, it is a great idea to invest in your own equipment, as rental equipment is not always compatible, and increases the chances of bruising, besides distracting you from your game.
Although spending a day playing at a paintball range can be fun, bruises from paintballs flying over a hundred miles an hour can really hurt. However, the fun you will have in this sport is totally worth it. Bruises usually form when blood collects at the area of impact, after blood vessels in the area break, due to the shock of the paintball striking your skin. Depending on the severity and age of the bruise, the skin’s color at the area can differ from pink or yellow, to a purplish-black. It is not possible to completely get rid of a bruise, other than waiting for it to heal naturally. However, there are many effective methods to relieve the pain and increase the speed of the healing process.
Why do Paintballs Hurt and Bruise?
Paintballs are made of flexible spheres of gel, filled with bright paint. The guns which are used in this game fire the balls at a high velocity of a few hundred miles per hour, which is almost like firing a real gun at someone. However, due to the soft nature of the bullets (paintballs), the energy dissipates, preventing loss of life. However, the force of the impact is still sufficient to cause painful bruises from time to time.
How to Avoid Paintball Bruises
Despite the force of a paintball shot, it is quite easy to prevent bruising with just a little preparation before you enter the arena.
Wearing the Right Gear: The first step is to wear high-quality protective gear. You should wear a face mask with safety goggles to protect your face. It is also highly recommended to wear a helmet. To protect the rest of your body, wear long-sleeved t-shirts, boots, protective gloves, and padding for your sensitive areas. Denim jeans are usually good enough to protect your legs. Keep in mind that the clothing you wear should either be loose-fitting/baggy or in layers, to effectively dissipate the impact without causing you any discomfort. It will also help to avoid getting shot at, if you wear clothes that act as camouflage in the range. If you are an aggressive player, wearing arm guards, slide shorts, and protective vests is a good idea, as it will allow you to slide around without injuring yourself.
Strategy: The aim of playing a paintball game is to shoot your opponents, while avoiding getting hit by them. So, plan out your play by carefully analyzing your surroundings, and the various objects in the range that can provide you with cover. This will greatly decrease the probability of you getting shot and bruised.
Choosing the Paintballs and Guns: Paintballs are available in many different sizes, choosing the bigger ones can result in bigger bruises, but might be more fun to watch. Therefore try out a few sizes in different brands, to find the best one for you.
Playing by the Rules: Make sure everyone goes over the basic rules of the game before you start playing. Avoid shooting from distances lesser than 20 feet, and don’t play with friends who insist on taking potshots from a close range.
Who Should Not Play Paintball: If you get bruised easily, try to avoid the game. However, if you must play, consult a doctor before doing so. People who are too old or too young should not be permitted to enter the paintball range, as they can get injured very easily. Games such as laser tag are good alternatives for such people.
Gun Settings: It is important that the speed setting for the paintballs is never more than 260 feet per second. Higher speeds can cause severe bruising, so make sure you use a chronograph for this purpose.
General Fitness Levels: A healthy body, will help you to take any scrapes or hits better. It is a good idea to regularly exercise in a gym, if you are a frequent player. Also make sure that you go through some warm-up exercises before starting a game as this will prevent sprains and muscle tears that occur during intense games.
How to Treat Paintball Bruises
No matter how many precautions you take before the game begins, there is always a chance that you will still get bruised. Before we look at the treatment methods, we need to know how long do paintball bruises last. Depending on the severity and area of impact, bruises can fade away in a few hours or a few weeks. It is important to note that if the bruise does not disappear in 2-3 weeks’ time, you may have to visit a doctor, to get it checked for hematoma, where the bruise might have caused a blood clot. Now let us look at how to deal with paintball bruises.
- If you get bruised during a game of paintball, leave the range at the end of the round and monitor it to see if it is getting worse.
- Wash the bruised area with soap and cold water. Next, apply an icepack on the bruise to reduce swelling.
- Using an antiseptic powder such as Neosporin will protect a bleeding bruised area from infection.
- If you were bruised on your arms or legs, keeping that part elevated will keep the blood from collecting there, and prevent the bruise from settling there for a long time.
- Applying a topical cream of witch hazel, comfrey, or arnica helps in faster recovery.
- If your bruise lasts for more than 2 weeks, it might be a sign of a blood clot, and the doctor might have to surgically bleed that area out to prevent permanent bruising.
- Warm compresses can help circulation and dispersal of blood.
- Letting your welts rest in a warm bath with some Epsom salt works effectively as a muscle relaxant.
- Gently massage your bruise with some Vitamin K cream to speed up the healing process.
- It is important to not visit hot baths, saunas, and other heated places. Massages should be avoided if the bruise has broken the skin, as it can worsen the condition.
- Visit a doctor if the bruise causes blurring of vision or loss of consciousness.
- Eating foods rich in Vitamin C also helps in the healing process.
- Finally, it is absolutely necessary to give ample rest to the bruised area, as any strain will cause further damage.
It’s always better to plan ahead of a paintball event. Doing so will not reduce the fun from your outing. In fact, it will help you enjoy this amazingly enjoyable sport for a much longer time, without going home with a sore body. Follow the above tips and enjoy your trip to the paintball range.