Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bruises and Contusions

Bruises and Contusions by Nurse’s Notes

A bruise is an injury of the tissue under the skin that causes an area of discolored skin.  Another word for bruise is contusion.

Bruises often result from an injury such as a fall or blow. Small blood vessels bleed into the tissues under the skin and cause the skin to change colors.

There are things that may make you bruise more easily, such as medicines or supplements, a lack of certain vitamins, or a blood-clotting problem. Older adults bruise more easily because their blood vessels are more fragile and their skin thins with age.

Reduce the risk of bruising by wearing protective padding When playing contact sports or engaging in activities that increase your risk of trauma.


·      pain
·      swelling
·      discolored skin
·      Some bruises may cause only a little tenderness, but deep bruises of muscles can make it very painful to move. Bruises are usually purple at first and then slowly fade over a couple of weeks to various shades of brown, yellow, and green.


Most bruises need no special treatment. The body will repair the bruised area and the skin will return to a normal color.

·      Put a cool damp washcloth, ice pack, or package of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth on the bruise for 15 to 20 minutes at a time (longer might cause frostbite), 4 to 8 times a day for 1 to 2 days after the injury.

·      Lightly wrap the bruised area with an elastic bandage (Ace® wrap) if it is swollen.

·      Keep the injured area propped up above the level of the heart as much as possible to help decrease the pain and swelling.

·      When the swelling has stopped, usually after the second day, a warm washcloth or heating pad set on the lowest setting may help the bruise heal faster.

·      Do not massage the bruised area.

·      Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®, Naprosyn®) may help decrease your pain. You should not take ibuprofen or naproxen if you have a history of bleeding in your stomach.

See your health care provider if:

  • You have unusually large or painful bruises — particularly if your bruises seem to develop for no known reasons.
  • You bruise easily and you are experiencing abnormal bleeding elsewhere, such as from your nose or gums, or you notice blood in your eyes, stool or urine.
  • You have no history of bruising, but suddenly experience bruises.


Comments welcomed!