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Bruise - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Last Updated: Dec 28, 2021

What is Bruise?

A common injury that results in bleeding below the skin is called bruise. Generally bruises do not bleed. The skin develops a red color immediately after it is bruised. Later it becomes purple and after a few days it turns green and heals.

Bruise is a common problem in the older generation as the skin becomes thin which leads to easy bruising. People who take blood thinner medications also suffer from bruises. Athletes and weight lifters suffer from bruises as the micro blood vessels break during vigorous exercise leading the bruises. When a person bumps into any hard object there is a possibility of bruising. When a person develops sudden bruises it may be due to internal bleeding.

How do you know if a Bruise is serious?

Bruises also known as contusions, are nothing but a form of surface injury caused due to mild trauma. It usually undergoes healing in most cases without any medical treatment or by an application of home remedies or self-care techniques. It may be serious in some cases. Those symptoms which show it is a serious concern include being unable to heal even in a time period of two weeks, inflammation around Bruises, presence of numbness or weakness, Bruises that are large and painful, head or neck trauma, and problematic vision.

Summary: Bruise is a mild trauma that usually undergoes spontaneous healing without any need for medical care or attention. In cases when it doesn't get healed within two weeks or inflammation-like conditions develop around it, it is necessary to consult a doctor.

Is a Bruise a blood clot?

Bruises and blood clots have similarities as they both are related to the damaging of blood vessels. But there are some differences too. A Bruise is characterized by the appearance of a mark or fleck on the skin which fades away with time. On the other hand, a blood clot is characterized by the formation of a clump of blood which is formed in the deeper section of tissues or inside a blood vessel. It is not visible, however.

Summary: Being similar in some of the aspects, Bruises and blood clots have some differences too which is important to be taken into consideration. Bruises are visible on the outer skin surface as a mark or fleck, while blood clot formation takes place in the deeper tissues section or inside the blood vessel.

Is a lump under a Bruise normal?

A Bruise is characterized by the rupturing of capillaries due to mild trauma as a result of which blood flows out in the topmost layer of skin and causes discoloration of the skin. But it is not normal if there is palpation of the firm and hard lump under the Bruise as it is the characteristic feature of hematoma. If in case of a Bruise, any lump is felt then it should be consulted with a doctor because it may be an indication of some severe conditions.

Summary: Though Bruises are a common occurrence due to any mild trauma, palpation of a lump beneath them is a serious concern. It may be an indication of the hematoma, followed by consultation with a physician.

How long should a Bruise hurt to touch?

A Bruise is caused due to mild trauma which results in rupturing of blood capillaries leading to seepage of blood in the topmost skin layer. A mark blackish or bluish in color forms on the skin which remains there for around two weeks or more. But as it starts to heal, the color of the Bruise starts to change, and slowly it fades away. It usually hurts for a few days starting from the time when an injury happens.

Summary: Bruises appear as a blackish or bluish mark on the outer skin surface which is formed as a result of rupture of capillaries. They remain on the skin for a time period of about two weeks or more. After that, healing starts to take place and it fades away gradually.

Medical Attention if :

Those who are taking blood thinner and get bruise should immediately seek medical attention. If bruises happen often then it is time to seek medical help. Bruises near the head and eye also require immediate medical attention. Bruise with swelling and pain could be a fracture and hence should be dealt by a doctor.


Diganosis :

Concussions on the head with or without a black out means head injury and should be diagnosed by a doctor to avoid any further complications.

Doctors may prescribed for x-rays if they feel that there may be a fracture. Continuous bruises over a period of time may be due to internal bleeding and a blood test will determine the condition. If bruises are over a period of time and at various stages of healing it may be due to physical abuse, which a doctor may suspect.

Some bruises can be treated at home using cold compress while it is still red. The compress should be wrapped in towel and not applied directly to the skin. If the bruise is on the leg, then keeping the leg in upward position for 24 hours will heal any swelling. Medications like Acetaminophen can help in healing, aspirins should not be taken during this time as they slow down the process of healing. After 48 hours heat treatment or applying of cloth dipped in hot water to the bruised area will help in fast healing of the bruise.

Precautions :

Sportsperson and children can avoid bruises by taking some precautions. Some of the common precautions are wearing protective gear while playing sports like cricket and softball. At homes, proper placement of objects can avoid fall. Electrical appliances and cords should be kept away from places where people walk frequently.

Bruises are indeed small injuries and require 10 to 2 weeks to heal.

Conclusion: Bruise or contusion is caused due to mild trauma which results in rupturing of blood capillaries leading to seepage of blood in the topmost skin layer. A blackish or bluish mark forms on the skin which remains there for around two weeks or more. It usually undergoes healing in most cases without any medical treatment or by home remedies.


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Written ByDr. Shaurya Rohatgi MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy,MBBSDermatology

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