Short answer, Yes paintball can cause bruises to happen.
I still remember how upset my wife was when our thirteen-year-old son came back from a Paintball Match with a black and blue bruise on his back.
This was no surprise to us, both my son and I understood and expected bruises to naturally occur when playing paintball but for her, this was new territory.
In this article, I hope to tackle the subject of bruise, welts and how you can prevent and if necessary treat them, and not leave you surprised like my wife when a bruise occurs.
Bruise and injuries can be a serious matter I am not a doctor if the bruise or injury is severe please seek medical attention.
Let us jump into it.
Types of Paintball Guns
There are two different types of paintball guns. Which are classified based on the method they use to propel the paintball.
- Spring Powered Paintball Guns
My two sons have been playing with these paintball guns for a long time, there are the guns that I used to introduce them to paintball.
Spring Powered Paintball guns are low impact and won’t cause any bruises they are made and design for kids ages 9 and up.
They are the first defense against paintball injuries and bruises and I would advise you to start your kids off with them, they are safe and very fun.
- Compressed Air/ Liquid CO2 Paintball Guns
Are the Standard Paintball guns that are used by mature teens and adults. These Paintball guns will if certain conditions are met will cause bruises to happen.
Types of Paintball Injuries
There are two main types of paintball Injuries;
- Paintball Bruises
- Paintball Welts
Bruises also medically known as contusions are caused when the Paintball impacts an area with a lot of little blood vessels causing the vessels to break or damage, which creates a discoloration in the area that will eventually fade away.
Welts are the other type of Paintball Injuries they are very similar to bruises with the exception that you get a fair amount of swelling at the paintball bruise
A Welt could be described as a more severe bruise, that causes swelling in the area.
What Causes Paintball Bruises
I am sure that you already know this but Paintball bruises won’t occur every time you play Paintball, they are not as common or severe as people think.
They occur only if certain factors are met such as;
- You are shot at close Range
The closer you are to the person shooting at you the more force the paintball will have thus increasing the damage when the paintball hits you.
Some paintball fields have a 20 feet rule that limits players from shooting each other at close range.
- The Paintball Hits You on Bare Flesh
Clothes and other Paintball Gear, of which I discuss later, helps to shield the body from Paintball injuries.
- The Paintball Gun shoots You at above the Recommended speed and power.
Industry recommended Paintball Gun Speed is 270-280 feet per second anything above that and you increase the odds of bruises occurring.
You can check out the video below to see how a Paintball bruise happens
How to treat Paintball Bruises and Welts
These are some home remedy treatment for paintball bruises these are for small bruises, any severe bruises I advise seek medical attention.
The Speed in which you respond to treat the wound is key here, the earlier you tend to the bruise the faster it will heal.
- That is why the first defense is to always perform a full body examination after playing paintball to spot any bruises forming.
- Cold Compressor Now as soon as you see a bruise is forming, apply a cold compress which can be as simple as ice wrapped in a towel.
For the first 24 hours, apply the ice for 10-15 minutes, once an hour.
The cold from the ice slows circulation and causes blood vessels to get smaller to avoid further bleeding.
Be careful not to apply ice directly to the bruise or leave the ice compressor on for too long this can lead to frostbite which can cause more damage.
- Warm Compress After you have applied the ice compressor for the first 24 hours, you should now apply moderate heat to the area.
This can be done by soaking a cloth in moderately warm water and applying it to the bruise.
The heat helps to increases blood circulation in the area to decrease discoloration in the bruise.
- Get Plenty Rest Once you have gotten a lot of bruises your body will need rest so that it can heal. Take a day off from work or school if the bruising is severe.
Other Remedies to treat Paintball Bruises
- Vitamin K Creams I have read Vitamin K creams helps improve blood clotting and thus reduces the severity of bruises.
- Aloe Vera my wife swears by Aloe Vera she uses a cream with Aloe Vera that supposedly helps with inflammation and with healing scar tissue.
- Honey if the Bruise is open and bleeding occurs, use honey which is a natural antibiotic and a healing wonder drug.
How to treat Welts
The treatment for welts is basically the same treatment for a bruise except that I would advise that you should elevate the wound initially for 15-20 minutes before the cold compressor is applied so as to reduce the swelling of the Welt.
If you have a welt on your hand, arm or legs position yourself maybe by propping up the area with a pillow or simply raising the part to be above the body.
By doing this you are working gravity to speed up the rate the wound drains away the excess fluid.
How long Does Paintball bruise Last?
I cant give a definitive answer to this question but a moderate bruise might last for 2-3 weeks. A big factor here is how fast you treat the bruise the longer you take to treat it the longer it will take to heal.
this depends on a lot of factors
- The Location of the Bruise
Bruises on the Face and arm heal faster and lasts for shorter periods of time whilst fleshier parts of the body like the leg, thigh, stomach and back with more blood vessels to damage tends to last much longer.
- The Severity of the Bruise the more severe the bruise the longer it will take to heal.
- Age. the very young and very old will take longer for bruises to heal.
- Skin Color Fair skin individuals have it rougher their bruises tend to show more pronounced than dark-skinned individuals.
- Personal factors. this will vary based on health and other factors, that can hinder the healing process.
How long does Paintball Welt Lasts For
The swelling of the welt can last for a couple of days maybe shorter if treated properly, then it leaves a bruise which will take 2-3 weeks to clear up.
Paintball Bruises Won’t Go Away
If your bruises aren’t going away then I advise you to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Probably a sign of other underlying health problems.
How to Avoid Paintball Bruises and Welts
- Avoid Getting Hit
This is the guaranteed yet probably the most difficult way to avoid paintball Bruises. My advice is that you study the Paintball field before playing so you can know all the areas you can use as cover.
Furthermore, I think every paintball game should have a signal to stop the game, my sons wave their handkerchief to signal a break.
- Wear Protective Gear
Please at this point I need to tell you always wear a Paintball Mask when playing paintball if you cant wear one don’t play it is that serious.
Other than that if you are serious about avoiding bruises You can think about getting;
- Padded Shirt/Armor.
- Paintball Gloves
- Padded Pants
- Neck Protector
I don’t want to go in detail about these Paintball Gear I talk more about them and also where you can purchase them in my article Does Paintball still Hurt with Armor?
- Layered Clothes
Now if you cant afford Paintball Protective Padded Gear, the other cheaper way to protect against bruises is to use several layers of clothing.
The extra layers of clothes acts as a cushion against the blows of the Paintball.
- Ensure Paintball Guns are Set at a firing rate of 270-280 feet per second
Your paintball gun along with those that you are playing paintball needs to be set at the recommended firing speed of 270-280 feet per second.
- Distance Rule.
Avoid getting close to fellow paintballers because the closer you are when you get hit the higher the chance of bruising occurring.
Most Paintball Fields push for atleats 20 feet separation I advise you stick with this rule.
Yes, Paintball can cause bruising but as in everything in life that is worth doing comes with some amount of risk. And I hope I have shown how you can effectively deal with this risk and still have lots of fun.