What’s a Bruise?
Everyone gets bruises at least once in their lifetime. A bruise is a colored spot on your skin that is formed when the soft tissues on your skin get bumped and become injured due to this small veins and tiny blood vessels called capillaries break under the skin. As a result, red blood cells leak out of these veins and start collecting under the skin, thus forming purplish, bluish, reddish or blackish mark on the skin. Those marks are also called just black or blue marks due to their color under the skin. A bruise is also called a contusion.
Some people have softer skin and therefore bruise easily, while others with tougher skin do not bruise very easily. Bruises change their color as the body starts healing itself by going through the process of metabolizing in which it breaks down the blood cells in the skin. This is how your body repairs itself from injuries.
Types of Bruises
Brises are mainly classified into three types:
- Subcutaneous Bruises
- Intradermal Bruises
- Deep bruises or contusions
Who gets Bruises?
The fact that bruises occur due to various reasons, so anybody can get bruises regardless of their age, sex and health conditions.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons of contusions and how you can treat them to Get rid of bruises:
When you see yourself bleeding, find out why you are bleeding and how did you get injured and try to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible. If the cause of bleeding is some medical condition then seek the help of your doctor immediately and try to treat your illness.
Ankle Sprain can be diagnosed by seeing its symptoms such as swelling, tenderness, bruising, ankle pain, uneasiness in the ankle and not enough strength to bear the pain in the affected ankle. Skin discoloration and stiffness are also symptoms are ankle sprain.
To treat an ankle sprain you can adopt following methods:
- Use elastic bandages to wrap around your ankle.
- Use a brace to support your ankle.
- To reduce swelling, keep your foot elevated i.e. above the level of your heart while resting or sleeping.
- Tylenol is an acetaminophen that you can use to fight of swelling and pain.
- Get lots of rest and avoiding standing on your feet with the entire body weight on the ankle.
Its symptoms include sudden pain, soreness, and limited movement of the body part, bruising, discoloration, swelling, stiffness and weakness.
To treat Muscle strains:
- Give rest to your muscles and avoid using them for a few days as the movement might cause pain. Too much rest can also be unhealthy for your muscles as it can slow the process of healing.
- Apply Ice compression to minimize swelling.
- Elevate the injured muscle above the level of your heart.
RICE rest, ice, compression, and elevation is said to be the best way to treat all sport injuries. In case your injuries are recurring for no appropriate reason then you may need to seek guidance of a physiotherapist.
- You can avoid animal bites by not making contact with unknown animals.
- Do not try catching wild animals like squirrels, raccoons, or rats.
- Do not disturb animals feeding their babies
- Stop playing too aggressively with your pets dogs & cats, as they can bite you unexpectedly.
- Never try to reach out animals in their cages, as it frightens them and as a result they can bite you.
Young children often tend to bite other young children. A human bit can simply be treated by washing the skin and bandaging the wound.
A mild traumatic injury in the brain is called Concussion. Dizziness, blurred vision, headache and nausea are the main symptoms of Concussion.
Head injury causes clumsiness, confusion, inability to balance body and small cuts. A head injury must be treated immediately by providing first aid, medications to clot blood or even surgeries to stop the bleeding from the brain.
Other causes of bruising include Seizures and Skull Fractures.
What causes bruising?
Bruises mostly occur when you hit yourself into something, or something bumps into you.
- People who exercise forcibly tend to develop bruises due to the minute tears in blood vessels under the skin, these people include athletes and weight lifters at gyms.
- Some people gets bruises for no visible reason, these unexplainable bruises might indicate bleeding disorders which also includes nosebleeds or bleeding gums.
- Other times you might get bruises on the shins and thighs and you may not recall the injury, this could be due to the bump into bed posts or other objects.
- Elderly people often form bruises on their bodies, this is due to the reason that their skin becomes thinner with the age and the tissues that support the blood vessels under the skin become more delicate.
- Heart patients and other people who take medicines to thin their blood also have the tendency to form the bruises frequently.
Symptoms of Bruises
- A bruise at its initial stage is reddish in color and within few hours it turns blue or dark purple and eventually yellow or green after a few days after you starts healing it.
- For the first few days, your bruise might be sensitive and even painful but within a couple of days the pain will disappear as well as the color of the bruise.
- Bruises doesn’t cause infections as the skin doesn’t break, hence there is no risk of microbes entering into the body.
Treatment of Bruises
It is best to treat a bruise right after the injury when it is reddish, as delaying the treatment might cause it to heal slowly.
Apply cold compress on the bruise such as an ice bag or a packet of frozen veggies for 20-30 minutes, this will resist the swelling and start instant healing. Make sure that the ice is wrapped in a bag or piece of cloth and you are not applying it directly to the skin. You may also wrap the ice pack in a towel.
If you get a big bruise on leg or foot then the leg should be kept elevated for at least the first 24 hours after the injury.
While you have bruise on your body, you may take Acetaminophen for the pain but avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen as they cause the blood to thin and it might not allow the bleeding to stop.
Two days after the injury, if you apply a little heat with the help of a warm piece of cloth or a washcloth for 10 minutes three times a day, then it will allow the blood flow to increase at the area of bruise, and skin will start absorbing the blood rapidly. Hence, the bruise will heal and lose its color in less time.
Do not massage your bruise or apply heat right after the injury, it may worsen the bruise.
Some of the home remedies can also help you greatly to Get rid of bruises.
Home Remedies for Bruises
Apply chap stick on the bruise it will help in reducing the redness just in a few minutes after you apply it.
Dip a salt bag in hot water and apply on the injured area.
Mix Lavender essential oil with coconut oil and apply it on the wound before bandaging it.
Toothpaste that has sodium in it is considered very well for healing purposes. Apply toothpaste on your bruise and bandage it before going to bed.
Fresh Potato peels and slices can also be used for this purpose. Cut a potato into slices and apply a slice on the affected area until it dries, repeat it twice a day until your bruise fades way in a few days.
Rub Neosporin on your bruise and massage it, after that apply bengay on the top. Try it twice a day until your bruise completely heals. The bengay might give you a burning sensation in the beginning, but it’ll soon start the healing. Avoid getting it into the eyes.
St. John’s wort oil
Even though St. John’s wort is often prescribed to treat mild depression and you can take it in the form of a capsule or tea, but its oil has its significance related to healing wounds. It has tannins in it along with astringents, which controls the bleeding from the tiny vessels. To obtain best results, start this treatment soon after the injury and repeat it three times a day.
Vinegar with warm water
Vinegar when mixed with warm water boosts up its healing properties. By applying the mixture, the blood flow will be increased near the skin’s surface, so it will reduce the swelling and reddishness of the bruise area.
You may also start taking dietary supplements in order to get rid of bruises. Bromelain is an essential enzyme that is found in pineapples, helps in digesting proteins that cause inflammation and pain. To make use of it, take 250 to 500 milligrams of bromelain everyday between your meals until your bruises are fully recovered.
Doctors also apply the same techniques described above to treat bruises, ice packs and later heat and medications to lower the pain. They too, suggest trying elevation of the bruised area for a quick heal.
How to Avoid Bruises and Prevention
- Bruises can be avoided by prevention
- Sportsmen can avoid bruises by wearing proper suits including protective gear such as shin guards.
- Keep furniture at your home away from the doorways and common walking paths.
- Also keep electrical wires and phone cords away from open areas so you may not trip and fall.
- Make sure floors in your home are dry especially when you are walking on them and rugs are made up of the fabric that doesn’t cause them to slip.
- Keep your floors clean and tidy and do not scatter things on the floor.
- Switch on a small light or charge a flash light that you could use in the night while you need to go to the bathroom in the dark.
- If you have been prescribed medications that cause blood thinning then make sure that you monitor yourself properly and adjust your medicines accordingly.
- You may also use arnica supplements like Arnica Montana or Leopard’s bane if your bruises recur again and again.
- Like described earlier in the article, avoid taking certain pain killers i.e. NSAIDs like naproxen and diclofenac as well as ibuprofen and aspirinas all these medicines cause thinning of the blood. Instead, try acetaminophen.
- Do not consume alcohol very often. Alcohol especially with NSAIDs causes blood thinning.
- Add proteins in your diet as lean proteins strengthen the walls of blood vessels. Eat nutritious proteins such as eggs, chicken, fish and raw nuts.
- Rise intake of healthy fats to keep your blood vessels flexible. Opt for avocados, vegetable oil, seeds and oily fish.
- Stop taking certain supplements likeVitamin E, ginseng, gingko biloba, ginger, omega-3 and garlic pills, all of these are blood thinners.
- Adjust food enriched with bioflavonoids in your daily diet. These foods include oranges, barriers, grapes and green beans. Foods with bioflavonoids strengthen your blood vessels and connective tissues.
When to See a Doctor?
You might also need to get some help from your doctor, especially in complex cases, for example:
- If your bruise is worsening day by day and accompanying severe pain, inflammation as well as redness
- For a person who is taking blood thinning medications, it is advised to consult with their doctor to adjust their medicine.
- If you are getting bruises for no obvious reasons
- The bruises that you get on face or head, as these are the sensitive areas of your body and a doctor can guide you better on how to treat bruises on those areas.
- If you find it difficult to move a joint after the injury and developing a bruise
- Or if you fracture your bone due to an accidental bump