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Bruises

Bruises are caused by blood trapped under the surface of the skin. Bruises form after an injury that breaks the small blood vessels underneath the skin without breaking the skin itself. Some bruises only take a few weeks to fade while others can take a few months. Bruises are very common.

If bruises are appearing without a reason, consult a healthcare provider. If you think your bruise might be a sign of internal bleeding, seek medical care immediately.

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What are symptoms of bruises?

The main bruise symptom is skin color. Bruises often first appear in a black-blue or blue-green color. As your body reabsorbs the trapped blood, they may turn yellow-green. Red splotches are also common. The bruised area can also be tender and slightly swollen. Pain usually goes away as the bruise heals.

Most bruises are just below the skin level, but some are deeper in the muscle or on a bone. These are often more painful, but will still heal in time.

Some bruises indicate a severe condition and need medical attention. These cases include:

  • Bruising while taking blood thinners
  • Bruising for no reason
  • Bruising that fails to heal after a month
  • Bruising accompanied by blood in your urine, stool or eyes
  • Bruises that reappear without injury
  • Bruises that aren’t painful

How are bruises treated?

There are self-care steps that will bring relief in bruised areas. As a rule, do not cause more trauma to the bruised area. Try these tips.

  • Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling, but don’t put ice directly on your skin. Leave the ice on the bruise for 15 minutes.
  • Raise the bruised area above your heart to reduce blood flow to the area.
  • Rest the bruised area.
  • Take a mild pain reliever.

Seek medical attention if you or your child have bruising that doesn’t heal within a month or seems to reappear in the same area. Visit your nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic for diagnosis and treatment.