Bruises occur when there is trauma to the surface of the skin, such as when you bump into an object. A bruise’s classic “black and blue” discoloration happens when blood vessels burst under the skin and are trapped below the surface.
Bruises happen to people of all ages and are a natural part of the healing process. Some bruising injuries are so minor that you may not notice it happening until the bruise. More major bruising, or pain from a bruising injury, may require medical treatment. As you grow older, your skin becomes thinner and you’re more likely to have bruised skin.
Some common causes of bruising:
- Sports injuries like being struck with a ball
- Household accidents like bumping into something or falling
- Medications that thin the blood like aspirin or Coumadin
Many bruises are treatable at home and may fade within a few days or weeks depending on the trauma to the area. To help heal a bruised area, try the following options:
- Wrap the bruise with a cloth and place an ice pack on the cloth (not directly on the skin) to reduce swelling (leave it on for 15 minutes). Repeat every hour if necessary.
- Rest the bruised area.
- If possible, raise the bruised area above your head to prevent blood from settling in the bruised tissue.
- Over-the-counter meds like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or naproxen (Aleve) can reduce the area’s pain.
Should you be treated for a bruise?
Care Station Medical Group can evaluate your bruises and recommend treatment if necessary.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s probably best if you get treatment.
- If bruising doesn’t heal after three to four weeks
- If the bruise swells or becomes more painful
- If you’re using blood-thinning medications