A bruise is basically damage to the skin which leads to some change in its color. There are three types of bruises: subcutaneous (beneath the skin), intramuscular (in the underlying muscle), and periosteal (bone bruise). The main symptoms are pain, swelling, and skin discoloration. Breakage of blood vessels which then leak into the skin cause the actual discoloration of tissues. Deep bruises can result from sprains, serious falls or broken bones, while superficial bruises can occur from bumps, pinches or suction on the skin. The change in color is largely dependent on the depth of the bruise. As it heals, the bruise usually changes to a bluish color, then a yellow-green, before finally returning to the normal skin color. This change in coloration occurs as dead cells are removed and replaced by the body. It can take from days to weeks for a bruise to heal depending on the severity and type of bruise.
Certain individuals have a greater susceptibility to developing bruises from an injury. Disorders like anemia and obesity increase the risk of getting bruises. Easily bruised skin can also indicate brittleness in the walls of the blood vessels or problem with blood-clotting. Bruises also also occur suddenly in some individuals without any apparent cause such as hemophiliacs, persons suffering from leukemia, or if blood-platelet levels are low as a result of using blood-thinning medications. An individual deficient in vitamin C and bioflavonoids is also likely to suffer from brittle blood vessels and is prone to developing bruises even from minor injuries.
Some vitamins and herbs are considered beneficial in treating bruises. Herbs, and other healing foods, which may be helpful if consumed, include: alfalfa, dandelion, grapes, pineapple, and shavegrass. Vitamins include: C, calcium & magnesium, D, E, K, and zinc. In addition, some herbs may be helpful if applied to the bruise. Herbs, and other healing foods, used externally include: agrimony, banana skins, bay, birch, cabbage, caraway, celery seed, chamomile, cinnamon, fenugreek, lavender, lemon balm, mullein, oak bark, onion, oregano, parsley, potato, radish, slippery elm, thyme, turmeric, and turnip.
Call your doctor if you are bruising spontaneously without any reason, or if there are signs of infection around the bruised area including streaks of redness, pus or other drainage, or fever. Call your doctor immediately if you feel extreme pressure in a bruised part or your body, especially if the area is large or very painful.
Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only, and is not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.