A bruise is a mark on your skin caused by blood trapped under the surface. It happens when an injury crushes small blood vessels but does not break the skin. Those vessels break open and leak blood under the skin.
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.
Bruises can occur in some people who exercise rigorously, such as athletes and weight lifters. These bruises result from microscopic tears in blood vessels under the skin.
Certain illnesses and diseases can cause bruising.
Unexplained bruises in children may be the result of child abuse. If you suspect a child is being abused, ask a doctor or community health center how to report your concerns.
Symptoms of Bruises
The main symptoms are pain, swelling, and skin discoloration. The bruise begins as a pinkish red color that can be very tender to touch. It is often difficult to use the muscle that has been bruised. For example, a deep thigh bruise is painful when you walk or run.
Double jointedness (hyper extensible joints), extreme in some cases
Joint pain from frequent dislocation
Nearsightedness, occasionally extreme
Heart problems, such as mitral valve prolapse, aortic root dilatation and spontaneous rupture of large arteries
Family history of ruptured uterus, colon or brain aneurysm
Can Bruises Be Prevented?
Bruises are kind of hard to avoid completely, but if you’re playing sports, riding your bike, in-line skating, or doing anything where you might bump, bang, crash, or smash into something – or something might bump, bang, crash, or smash into you – it’s a good idea to wear protective gear like pads, shin guards, and helmets.
Treatment of Bruises
A bruise by itself needs no medical treatment. It is often recommended that ice packs be applied on and off during the first 24 hours of injury to reduce the bruising. After that, heat, especially moist heat, is recommended to increase the circulation and the healing of the injured tissues.
If the bruise takes up a large area of the leg or foot, the leg should be kept elevated as much as possible during the first 24 hours after the injury.
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken for pain as instructed on the bottle. Avoid aspirin because aspirin slows the blood from clotting and may, in fact, prolong the bleeding.
Apply ice packs to the injured body area immediately after the injury and apply pressure. The ice pack must be kept on for at least 20 minutes. It may be alternated with a heat pack for the next 48 hours. The bruise must still undergo the appropriate stages of healing. It will change color from red to purple to yellow to brown.