What You Should Know About Bruises

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Published on March 01, 2019

What You Should Know About Bruises

Photo of a bruised knee

Photo of a bruised kneeA bruise, also known as a contusion, is the result of small blood vessels bursting underneath the skin. The blood trapped under the skin gives the bruise its purple and/or blue color. It is also possible to bruise your muscles and bones as well; however, bruises on the bone can only be seen in an MRI. Common causes of bruises can include: joint and muscle sprains, sports injuries, and the occasional bedframe or furniture bump. The amount of leaked blood that the body absorbs helps determine the color of the bruise. The dark purple and/or blue color is shown during the early stages of the bruise, while the lighter yellow/orange color will show towards the end of the healing process. As the bruise heals, its color will begin to fade away. Overall, most bruises will completely heal in two weeks.

The healing process takes time but the following can help alleviate bruising:

  • Ice packs. Applying ice soon after the injury reduces blood flow to the area, lowering the swelling. Make sure to avoid direct contact with ice by wrapping it in a cloth.
  • Elevate. Raising the bruised area above your heart, if possible, can help minimize swelling during first 24 hours after being injured.
  • Heat. Using a heating pad or a warm shower can help relieve pain and clear away trapped blood. Try this after the bruise has formed.
  • Aloe Vera. The Aloe Vera plant’s gel has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation. Apply a generous amount to the bruised area throughout the day.

Conditions such as diabetes can cause common bruising. Call your doctor if you experience any of the following: a bruise that does not heal after four weeks, a lump that develops over the bruise or not remembering how you received several bruises. These can be signs of more serious conditions and should be seen by a physician.   

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.