Family First Aid News and Tips

Bumps & Bruises

1 May 2013Comments
Bumps & Bruises

What is a bruise?

A bruise is basically when the capillaries, little blood vessels, are damaged as a result of blow to the skin, and the skin doesn't break.  As blood leaks from the capillaries and has nowhere to go it gathers under the skin tissue causing swelling and discoloration.


How long do bruises last?

It can depend on how deep the impact of the blow to the skin was.  In a car accident for example, a bruise may appear to be almost black because the impact could have affected tissue all the way to the bone.  So the deeper an impact is the darker the colors will be & the longer they will take to heal.  But in general cases it will take about 2 to 3 weeks.

·         The first 2 or so days the bruise will go from reddish to bluish purple

·         Around day 6 it will appear greenish,

·         Around day 9 yellowish-brown before it goes away completely day by day


Why do bruises occur in others more easily than others?

It depends on how thick & elastic the skin is, as well as how fragile the blood vessels are.

·         Younger people have a higher tolerance against bruising as their skin is thicker & more elastic skin, as well as the blood vessels being stronger.

·         While the elderly are more easily bruised as they have thinner & less elastic skin & more fragile blood vessels.

The toughness of skin & strength of the blood vessels aren't just affected by age, but also by diseases or conditions we might have & certain medications that can cause easier bruising.




  • Rest - Key to repair body. Without rest you can increase swelling & pain because of the increased blood flow, and also the length of            recovery time
  • Ice - Slows the blood flow in the area therefore reduces swelling, pain and bruising (which is blood leaking into the tissue). Ice in a towel or a zip lock bag with water, frozen vegetables in a towel for around 20 minutes
  • Compression - Pressing down with the ice pack, Compression helps reduce swelling. Excessive swelling can cause excessive pain, loss         of movement & blood flow restriction
  • Elevation - This also adds to reducing swelling & bruising. Raise the injured area above your heart. So if it's on your leg, try to lie       down on a couch with the ice pack
* As seen on Wikipedia


When to see a doctor

Don't worry about minor bruises, they are easily treated and heal within 2 to 3 weeks.

But you should see a doctor if

 - There’s no improvement after 2 to 3 weeks

 - If the bruise is swelling a lot and very painful

 - You bruise a lot without knowing why

 - If you can't move a joint, like your ankle, or if you think a bone is broken or sprained joint

 - If you are bruised near your eye & it's difficult to move it

 For great medical advice, if you don't want to go to a doctor first, go to your local pharmacist & see the nurse.  They are paid by the pharmacy & so many times it's free or they charge a very small fee.  These nurses have a lot of experience in a wide variety of accidents at home.


Can bruises be prevented?

To some extent yes, but not completely, especially with that coffee table that keeps catching your shin!  But if you’re involved in any activities or sports with contact or possible contact, like cycling with a possibility of making contact with the floor, then wearing protective gear helps a lot. Unfortunately for rugby players they can’t exactly wear the American Football gear, so bruising is inevitable…

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