Whether you are in a rush to get things done or find yourself exhausted and tired, the chances of not thinking before you act could lend its way to bruising. It happens when you least expect it. You turn too sharply when going around the counter and bump your hip. Or your grandson leaves his roller skates out and you trip and hit your shins. Regardless on how it happens you can end up with a nice bruise to show for your troubles.
Fortunately, bruising is a normal and healthy part of the healing process. You can help prevent bruises or make them heal faster if you follow some of the simple recommendations outline below. I'll also show you how to recognize when bruising points to bigger health issues.
Why Your Body Bruises
Your smallest blood vessels are called capillaries. When you bump into something hard enough, the capillaries under your skin burst and bleed beneath your skin. That forms the bluish or reddish mark you know as a bruise. That's just a surface mark. It will heal without any special treatment as long as you give it time.
Depending on how hard you get hit, you might also bruise deeper tissues. These types of bruises take longer to heal and they hurt more.
When you bruise, the area is usually sore and may even swell a little bit. These are signs your body is responding and that the bruise is healing. Over time, the swelling will go down and the bruise will change to a yellow, green, or brown color. Then it will fade completely.
How to Stop a Bruise From Forming in the First Place
It's not always possible to prevent a bruise from forming, but if you take the right steps you will be able to lessen the swelling, pain and discoloration.
The first step to bruise prevention is to make sure you get enough vitamin C every day. Vitamin C helps your body to make collagen. Collagen is an important part of the supportive layer beneath your skin. If you are not getting enough vitamin C, it can weaken your collagen, and that may make you bruise more easily. Getting enough vitamin C will give you healthier skin and will help prevent bruises especially from minor bumps.
When you get a bump that you think might form a bruise, you can greatly reduce the swelling and appearance of the bruise by putting ice on the area as soon as possible. You'll get the best results if you ice the area for ten to fifteen minutes every two hours. If a bruise does form, apply a salve that contains comfrey to the area to speed the healing process.
Applying a topical lotion containing vitamin K to areas where you are prone to bruise might also help cut down on the number of bruises you get.
When to Worry
Most bruises do not require any medical attention at all. However, in some cases, your body may be trying to warn you of a bigger problem.
Some diseases or conditions will cause you to bruise more easily. Easy bruising may indicate a nutritional deficiency. Hemophilia and von Willebrand disease also cause easy bruising. In both diseases, the blood does not clot properly. These diseases can be very serious and require a doctor's care.