Bruises, also called contusions, occur on person’s body when it is struck causing the tissue and muscle fibers underneath the skin to be crushed but without the skin breaking. During this process, the small blood vessels near the surface of the skin, called capillaries, are ruptured and leak out underneath the skin. The blood gets trapped here to form a bruise-like mark which can be red, purple or blue and is often tender in the spot where the bruise exists. Bruises can happen from any type of damage to the body, such as falling down, bumping into a hard surface, or something heavy falling on top of a body part. Bruises are temporary and once the blood relaxes underneath the skin, the bruise eventually fades to a green or yellow color before it disappears completely.
The Longevity of Bruises
Bruises are not permanent but the length of time you have a bruise varies based on a variety of factors including the severity of the damage to your blood vessels that caused the bruise, how large it is and how easily your skin bruises. A bruise will start as a reddish or purplish color when the blood first appears underneath the skin and about 1-2 days later turns blue-purple or a black color. This lasts before about a week before it turns to a yellowish or greenish color. Another 2 weeks may go by before the bruise fades to a lighter yellow or brown color which can last another week or two.
Treating a Bruise
There isn’t much you can do to make a bruise go away but sometimes you can speed up the healing process. This is first done by applying something cold to the bruised area, such as gently placing a package of frozen peas on the area. This will reduce its size in the very beginning of getting the bruise. The cold will decrease the amount of blood leaking into tissues and lessen the appearance of the bruise, as well as reducing swelling and inflammation. Cold should be applied for 30 minutes every few hours until the bruise begins to fade. Elevating the area of the bruise also helps, if it is located on your arm or leg.
Consulting a Doctor
Most bruises simply go away on their own and you don’t need to visit your doctor as there isn’t much they can do. However there are some special circumstances when you should see a doctor such as a bruise lasting longer than 2 weeks, bruises developing for no reason, bruising easily and often, a bruise that begins to swell, not being able to move your joint, a bruise near your eye, and a bruise that continues to get more painful instead of less painful.