Paintball Bruises and Welts

Our Comprehensive Guide to Paintball Bruises and Welts

Bruises and welts are a common occurrence in the intense sport of paintball.  No matter what level you play on, you will get some and they can be quite painful. Taking precautions to decrease the chance of getting one is possible. But it is not a guarantee and you must accept this if you want to play for fun or in competitions. The purpose of this thorough guide is to help you be safe and learn about paintball bruises and welts in detail. 

Is there a Difference Between a Bruise and Welt?

Before becoming indoctrinated into the sport of paintball I had no idea what welts were. I was familiar with paintball bruises of course but didn’t understand how you can get one when playing. Let’s take a look at these two terms in more detail before I teach you how to protect yourself from getting them.

Paintball Bruise

Bruises in the sport of paintball come in different colors depending on how hard you get hit. The colors can be purple from less severe shots or black for shots that are painful from close range. The typical paintball bruise will disappear if you give it enough time and will not leave scars.

paintball bruises on a man

Paintball Welt

Welts are the most severe and the pain can be quite intense. They appear when you are hit by a strike from a powerful paintball gun or even an airsoft gun. Best advice for these is to touch them as little as possible and they will disappear faster than a bruise.

What You Should Know

Distance and the spot on your body that you get hit on determines the severity of your bruise or welt. When faced with a scenario where you are hit from up close on an area your equipment can’t protect, you are susceptible to larger injuries. If you get hit from afar on an area on your body protected by the proper gear, injuries will be minimal and barely visible. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Paintball welts and bruises will hurt after the hit occurs. It is something you have to accept if you want to play the sport. On the very rare occasion, they can be quite serious and you will need to go to the hospital. The majority of them though are not lethal and can be treated by you with ointments from the pharmacy.

Now that we have them out of the way, lets see how you can treat your Paintball bruises or welts on your own.

How To Take Care of Bruises and Welts

Always keep yourself well informed with the latest treatments by reading this guide. I updated it when I learn new methods and new products get released. The faster you treat your injuries, the sooner you can go back out to play. Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor and any medical related questions should be answered by someone who is.

Bruise Remedies

As I mentioned before, paintballing bruises should get treated immediately once they appear. One of my favorite methods is via cold compress because it is cheap and effective. Grab some ice and put it in a bag. Find yourself a towel and wrap it around the bag of ice. Your skin should never have direct contact with the bag. The towel is a buffer used to keep your skin safe from frostbite which has happened to people before. I exert a bit of pressure for close to 15 minutes and I give it another hour before doing it again. Repeat this cycle a few times and the bruise will fade with time.

Warm Compresses

Warm compress is great to use after a good cold compress. Wait at least 24 hours after the cold compress treatment to get started. The first step to take is to get yourself another towel and dunk it in warm water. Administer it to your bruise the way you did the day before. If you want to make your life easy, use a heating pad. It is less work and feels much better when on your skin. The heat helps with your circulation and with the color of the airsoft bruise. Follow the same instructions by applying it for 15 minutes and giving it an hour to do it again.

warm compression alternative

Vitamin K Cream

Vitamin K cream is well known in the community and used by many players for treating paintball gun bruises. You don’t need a prescription to buy it and is sol in any pharmacy. Read the instructions closely before using it and talk with a doctor to make sure you are not allergic. The way a fighter keeps Tiger Balm in his bag, I keep Vitamin K cream before I hit the field. Click here to see the brand that I use the most and love.

Epsom Salt Baths

Even when I don’t have bruises or welts, I use Epsom salts to relax my body after a long day. It performs miracles on welts and works very fast when it comes to reducing the swelling. This product can also be bought in pharmacies and stores like Wal-Mart all over the country. Most of the instructions are the same no matter which brand you choose. Turn on the faucet in your bathtub and make sure it is filled to the top with warm water. Add a good amount of salt and get in. Submerge your body in the salt water for about 30 minutes. You will feel great after and then the pain from your bruise should have subsided a bit. I always feel like a new man after this and am ready to get back out there to kick some butt.

epsom salt bath treatment

Treating Bruises Without Medicine

Some natural methods that can be used to treat bruises may seem like pseudoscience but seem to work. One approach entails using the peelings from a potato or a banana and rubbing them on your skin. Apply them a few times a day and the aching and your blood flow should improve. Not to mention if you keep them cold, it is very soothing and helps you relax while dealing with the pain.

Welts Treatment Remedies

Most simple paintball welts can be treated using cold compress when you deal with bruises. The inflammations on the location of the welt will be decreased and it will hurt a lot less.

Make Sure Your Legs Are Raised

Whether your welt is on your leg or arm, make sure it is kept raised up as much as possible. You will feel more relaxed and the process of recovery will be shorter.

Witch Hazel Alternative

Witch Hazel comes from the leaves and crust of Hamamelis virginiana. The Hamamelis virginiana is a kind of plant known in the scientific community to help with airsoft welts. It improves circulation and makes your skin feel much smoother. I always keep a bottle in my bathroom cabinet and my favorite brand is here.


Many sicknesses and injuries are healed by relaxation and sleep. If you have to work, take the day off and stay home as much as possible off your feet. Also, take some time to think about the importance of playing smart to avoid future issues.

Duration of Most Bruises and Welts

This is a question asked by many of my readers that are difficult to answer how long do welts and bruises last. My response depends on so many factors and I can get a better picture of the time frame when I ask them more questions. At the end of the day, it depends on the intensity of the injury and also the location on your body that gets hit. A welt could heal up on the same day or could even take as long as a week to mend. Bruises tend to endure the longest which make them a pain to get rid of. A bruise could take a few days or may take a few weeks. It all hinges on where you were hit and from what distance. If you follow the advice above, your injuries will subside faster so you can get back out there to play another day.

How to Prevent Paintball Related Bruises and Welts

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is wiser to learn how to avoid getting bruises and welts instead of focusing solely on how to treat them. Doing this is not easy but there are certain steps you can take and equipment you can buy to reduce injuries. The tips and strategies below will help you take care of yourself so you can focus on playing paintball.

Don Extra Layers

Extra clothing is my secret to avoiding paintball related welts and bruises as much as possible.  At first, you will not be used to it but the extra layer will protect you. Learn to deal with it and accept it as a cost of playing the sage injury free. You will still need to buy official gear but it is a good start until you are able to afford them and prevents bruised ribs.

Carry Protective Gear

Newbies make this mistake every time before when it comes to knowing the proper gear to wear.  If you are new, get yourself acquainted with what safety gear is available on the market and buy one of each. An example of equipment that I always keep in my paintball bag include gloves, masks, protective vests, padded pants, padded shirts, and goggles. Each piece is a must and helps save me from serious harm. I know the issue with many paintballers starting out is that they don’t have the money to pay for everything. I had the same issue when I was starting out and my mentor advised me to start with a helmet at the least. The most sensitive areas are all on your head including your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. As time goes by and you want to get serious about your hobby, you can invest in the rest until you have them all. The more equipment you are able to get the less likely you are to end up in the hospital plain and simple.

Become a Better Player

I give a lot of advice on this site daily when it comes to safety but this is the best one I can give that helps prevent bruises and welts. If you train and work your butt off, you will become a better player. And if you become a better player with the best gun, you will be hit less avoiding bruises and welts. Teach yourself the importance of learning how to take cover and get good at judo style rolls. Before playing on any paintball field, get there before anyone else and get comfortable on it. By practicing the above tips, you will come home with fewer bruises and paint on your body. It will be difficult and you will feel like it cannot be done but it can. Be patient and learn the fundamentals of the game. With every game, you play and every lesson you learn, you will be a force to be reckoned with. Best of all, you will come pain-free.

Don’t Play with Cheaters

When you choose to play paintball with someone or a group of players, everyone agrees to follow the rules. This helps to prevent injuries from occurring and makes sure the best player wins. Some guidelines for most games include not washing the paint off when you are hit and keeping your helmet on at all times. These rules seem like common sense but you would be surprised how many people ignore them. If this does happen, disqualify the player or players and ban them. Always make sure that all newbies know the rules before playing and that everyone agrees. It will be much easier to get rid of them after if you do this.


I hope this comprehensive guide to paintball bruises was helpful. Now you know everything you need to know about staying safe, reducing pain and how to cut the chances of getting hurt. Now that you know all you need to know about bruises and welts, check out our best paintball guns for the money to start looking for gear.

Below is a great example of what it feels like to have a paintball connect with your skin. Enjoy it but let it be a warning and a lesson.

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