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

Have questions? Let us help!