Bruise – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

A bruise, also called a contusion or ecchymosis, is an injury to biological tissue in which the capillaries are damaged, allowing blood to seep into the surrounding tissue. It is usually caused by blunt impact. Bruises often induce pain but are not normally dangerous. Sometimes bruises can be serious, leading to other more life threatening forms of hematoma, or can be associated with serious injuries, including fractures and internal bleeding.

It can take months for a bruise to fade, but most last about two weeks. They start off a reddish color, and then turn bluish-purple and greenish-yellow before returning to normal. To reduce bruising, ice the injured area and elevate it above your heart. See your healthcare provider if you seem to bruise for no reason, or if the bruise appears to be infected.

Bruises are areas of discolored skin that occur when small blood vessels under the skin break and leak red blood cells into the soft tissues. The purplish discolorations are known as purpura.

Causes

Most bruises are not a cause for concern and will go away on their own. Home treatment may speed healing and relieve the swelling and soreness that often accompany bruises that are caused by injury. However, severe bruising, swelling, and pain that begin within 30 minutes of an injury may mean a more serious problem, such as a severe sprain or fracture.

Symptoms

Initially, a fresh bruise may actually be reddish. It will then turn blue or dark purple within a few hours, then yellow or green after a few days as it heals.

A bruise is commonly tender, and sometimes even painful for the first few days, but the pain usually goes away as the color fades.

Treatment

A bruise forms when a blow breaks small blood vessels near your skin’s surface, allowing a small amount of blood to leak out into the tissues under your skin. The trapped blood appears as a black-and-blue mark. Sometimes, there also are tiny red dots or red splotches.

Bruising results from the release of blood from the capillaries into the tissues under the skin. The characteristic bluish-black mark on the skin lightens in colour and eventually fades as the blood is absorbed by the tissues and carried away. Bruising usually occurs as a result of an injury, but can occasionally be spontaneous and an indication of an allergic reaction, or more serious disease.

Avoid taking the medications listed above that can contribute to bruising. If you have any questions about whether or not your medication can contribute to bruising, ask your health-care practitioner or pharmacist. Do not stop any prescription medications without first contacting your health-care practitioner.

Bruises and swellings are caused by bleeding under the skin. Again, bruises are best treated with cooling. To do this, follow the instructions given above for cooling treatment of sprains. If several bruises surround a large one, and you have not had any other accidents, consult your doctor to find out whether your blood is clotting as it should.