Bruises - How to treat bruises

Published: 26th March 2008
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A bruise, also called a contusion or ecchymosis, is an injury to biological tissue in which the capillaries are damaged, allowing blood to seep into the surrounding tissue. It is usually caused by blunt impact. Sometimes bruises can be serious, leading to other more life threatening forms of hematoma, or can be associated with serious injuries, including fractures and internal bleeding. Bruising depends on several things, such as how tough a person's skin tissue is, whether a person has certain diseases or conditions, or whether a person's taking certain medications.

Also, blood vessels tend to become fragile as people get older, which is why elderly people tend to bruise more easily. Minor bruises may be easily recognized, in people with light skin color, by their characteristic blue or purple appearance in the days following the injury. Vigorous exercise may also cause bruises due to bringing about small tears in blood vessels walls. Bruises also develop easily in the elderly, because the skin and blood vessels have a tendency to become thinner and more fragile with aging, and there is an increased use of medications that interfere with the blood clotting system.


Bruising is usually a minor problem, which does not require a medical diagnosis. However, faced with extensive bruising, bruising with no apparent cause, or bruising in certain locations, a physician will pursue an evaluation that will include a number of blood tests. If the area of the bruise becomes hard, an x ray may be required.

How to treat bruises

Bruises and swellings are caused by bleeding under the skin. Again, bruises are best treated with cooling. To do this, follow the instructions given above for cooling treatment of sprains.

The treatment for a bruise is most effective acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken for pain as instructed on the bottle. Avoid aspirin because aspirin slows the blood from clotting and may, in fact, prolong the bleeding. Vitamin K cream can be applied directly to the site of injury. Astringent herbs such as witch hazel,

Can Bruises Be Prevented?

Bruises are kind of hard to avoid completely, but if you're playing sports, riding your bike, in-line skating, or doing anything where you might bump, bang, crash, or smash into something - or something might bump, bang, crash, or smash into you - it's a good idea to wear protective gear like pads, shin guards, and helmets.

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