What is a bruise?
You’ve been experiencing these colourful splashes since you were the most excited kid in the sandpit years ago, but what exactly are bruises?
Bruise to the small blood vessels in your body from an injury called capillaries. Its effect is to break these capillaries and the blood they carry is lost in the tissues outside the walls of the vessels. Therefore, the lesions often appear red because there is blood under the skin. Why is the blood-red in the first place, you ask? Red comes from a chemical called hemoglobin, which helps carry oxygen throughout the body.
Bones are very hard and resistant to the stresses and strains of human life. Human bone is made up of two types of bone tissue, compact and spongy. Compact bone is the outer part of the bone. It is dense, well organized and very tough. If an injury occurs to this compact bone, it can be diagnosed as a stress fracture or a stress reaction.
The dissolved tissue, the inner part of the bone, and the mesh function of the bone tissue is called trabeculae. The trabeculae are not well maintained and are not as strong as compact bone. Lesions in this area of the bone are small areas that cause damage to the trabeculae and can be classified as “bone bruise.”
Who might get a bruise?
Everyone is hurt. Injuries can occur from a fall, accident, sports injury, or medical procedure. The elderly are at risk of injury. There are some bleeding defects that can lead to excessive injury. There are also some medical conditions that can make you more prone to injury.
You may be more prone to bruising if you:
- You have cancer or liver disease.
- Having family members who get hurt easily.
- Take medicine to thin the blood or stop taking aspirin or blood-thinning clots.
- Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) regularly to relieve pain, including ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Alev5).
- You have bleeding such as hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, or another blood clotting disorder.
- You experience a low blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia).
- Vitamin C or vitamin K deficiency.
Types of bruises
Your healthcare provider may refer to injuries by their medical term: ecchymosis. Bruises are also known as contusions. Different types of bruises:
- Hematoma: Trauma, such as a car accident or a major fall can lead to serious injury and damage to skin and tissue. A hematoma is a collection of blood outside the blood vessels that cause pain and inflammation.
- Purpura: These types of bruising usually involve light bleeding that occurs under the skin.
- Petechiae: These are pinpoint areas of red dots on the skin (less than 2 mm) that do not turn white after gentle pressure is applied.
- Senile purple: As you age, your skin may become thinner, drier, and more prone to tearing. Your skin will also roll up more easily. This condition is called senile purpura.
- Black eye: A blow to the head can cause a black eye (or two black eyes). The pool of blood and fluids under the eye. This condition can cause swelling and bruise around the eye or a discoloured ring. Black eye sometimes indicates a more serious eye injury, such as bleeding in the eye (hyphema).
Diagnosis of bruises
Bruises are usually a minor problem and do not require a formal medical diagnosis. However, when you experience extensive injuries, bruising for no apparent reason, or injury to certain areas, a doctor will conduct an evaluation that includes various blood tests. If the wound area becomes tight, an X-ray may be needed.
You and your healthcare provider can identify lesions by their unique shape and colour. If you experience frequent or unexplained injuries, your provider may order tests to rule out possible causes. These tests include:
- X-rays to check for bone fractures.
- Blood tests to detect bleeding disorders and vitamin deficiencies.
- If an injury is clearly bruised and the doctor does not suspect that there are broken bones, they will likely not perform any tests.
- If there is severe pain or swelling, the doctor may want to get an X-ray of the area to make sure there are no broken bones.
- If injuries occur frequently and for no apparent reason, your doctor may test your blood for a bleeding defect.
- The physician can be alerted to the nature of certain injuries, the pattern of injuries over time, and physical abuse at various stages of healing.
Symptoms of a bruise
- Initially, fresh lesions may actually be red. It turns blue or dark in a few hours, then yellow or green after a few days.
- A bruise is usually mild and the first few days are sometimes painful, but the pain usually goes away when the colour usually disappears.
- Since the skin does not break due to injury, there is no risk of infection.
Causes of bruises
- Bruises generally occur when people collide with something or collide with something inside of them.
- Some people who exercise vigorously can be Bruises, such as athletes and weightlifters. These injuries are caused by microscopic tears in the blood vessels under the skin.
- Injuries that are not easy or unexplained for no apparent reason may indicate a bleeding disorder, especially if the injuries often include bleeding from the nasal passages or gums.
- Oftentimes what are thought to be unexplained shin or thigh injuries, for example, are actually blows to the bedpost or other object and have no recollection of the injury.
- Injuries often occur in the elderly because their skin becomes thinner with age. The tissues that support the underlying blood vessels become more fragile.
- Bruises are also more common in people taking the drug to thin the blood.
Bruising easily and when to see your doctor
- Most injuries are harmless and the result of careless, awkward, or unfortunate accidents.
- However, there are a number of conditions in which the lesions may be indicative of a more serious underlying medical condition. See a doctor if you have:
- Suddenly you get hurt easily
- Injuries are spreading for no apparent reason
- Look for lesions around your belly button as a sign of acute pancreatitis. Blood or platelet clotting problems or other serious health conditions can result in unexplained injuries or easy injuries.
Prevention of bruises
To prevent Bruises:
- Wear protective gear (such as shin guards) when playing contact sports like soccer.
- Keep furniture away from common doors and hallways in your home.
- Keep the phone and electrical cords away from places where you travel and fall.
- Make sure floors are dry and rugs are slip-resistant.
- Keep the floors cluttered.
- Plug in a small night light or use a flashlight to walk to the bathroom at night.
- If your doctor prescribes medications to thin your blood, monitor regularly, and adjust medications as needed.
How to treat bruises
Most injuries are mild, relatively painless, and do not require treatment because they go away on their own.
However, some injuries can cause injuries that cause discomfort or pain:
- Like sprained ankle or sprained knee
- Muscle sprains caused by sports injuries.
- Bruise after fall
In these situations, treatment as soon as possible after the injury will prevent more extensive injuries, helping both the wound and wound heal faster.
Here are some steps you can take to make things better:
- Rest the affected area as soon as possible. This is especially true in the case of muscle strains or sports injuries.
- Apply a cold compress. If you don’t have the proper equipment, a package of frozen peas will do the trick. Remember 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off.
- Elevate the injured body part if possible.
Wounds can also be treated with the application of arnica extract such as Absolute Arnica Gel. Children’s bumps and wounds can be quickly and effectively healed with arnica.
Arnica Absolute Gel has no unpleasant odor and does not smell like you or your clothes after application.