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What Is A Bruise?


A bruise develops when there is a direct blow or several blows on the body. Small blood vessels tear and rupture and blood leaks into adjoining tissues that creates a hallmark black, red and blue discoloration. Bruises often heal on their own without any interventions but some bruises may be deeper, affecting tissues that may take a little more time to heal.


Minor bruises from a simple blow on the arm or the leg often start as a small painful lump on the skin that discolors over the initial 30 minutes after the injury. A more severe type of bruise may instantly immobilize a person and this may already be a reason to suspect deeper injuries like a torn ligament or a fracture. It is a must to bring a person to an emergency care unit as soon as possible.


Bruises may also appear without any injury or blow on the body; these may be due to taking medications like blood thinners, a clotting disorder and other types of diseases that affect the clotting ability of blood. Examples of these illnesses are liver disease, chronic inflammatory diseases, blood vessel inflammation, cancer and malnutrition. A sudden appearance of a bruise without any injury merits immediate medical attention and treatment.


There are many types of bruises and each one may heal differently from the other. There are also factors that can influence the healing of bruises and these are the following:


1     The severity of the bruise generally affects healing time. Minor bruises may just go away on its own after a week while deeper ones may take more than 2 weeks.


2     The age of the individual is also a factor. Older people tend to heal longer and may get bruised more than younger people do. The skin is less flexible as it ages and thus may bruise easily.


3     Women are generally more prone to bruises than men.


4     Sometimes the ability to bruise easily may be inherited and may run in the family as well.


As mentioned, minor bruises may not need any medical intervention but may just need first aid to relieve the initial pain and swelling that may occur. Here are some common treatments for bruises:


1     Cold compresses are used to initially relieve pain, swelling and reduce inflammation of a bruise. A cold towel or an ice pack may be applied on the affected area.


2     Bruise creams may also help. These contain vitamin E, C and K to reduce the appearance of bruises. These are also used to reduce post surgical wounds, burn wounds and laser treated skin.


3     Pain and anti inflammatory medications may also help reduce bruises and swelling. It is important however to consult your doctor if you have any illnesses before taking any medication for pain and inflammation.


Remember to never set aside any severe bruising and inflammation. Unexplained bruising must also be consulted to your doctor. Your doctor may advise the appropriate treatment for your condition.