Bruises are a common occurrence for everyone at some point in their life. They can occur on various parts of the body and come in various forms, including blue, black, and other color combinations. These colors indicate different effects or injuries on the body. While most bruises are harmless, some may require medical attention as they may indicate an underlying injury.

What is a Bruise?

Our skin contains a large number of tiny blood vessels located between the skin and other tissues. These vessels can break when someone experiences an injury from falling, hitting a body part, or bumping into something hard. This results in blood flowing out of the vessels and collecting under the skin, causing the skin to turn blue, green, black, or other dark colors. This discoloration caused by broken blood vessels is known as a bruise. In some cases, the collected blood may form a lump, which can be more dangerous.

Types of Bruises

Bruises typically occur in three forms, depending on their location: Subcutaneous Bruises, Intramuscular Bruises, and Periosteal Bruises. Subcutaneous Bruises are the most common type, occurring beneath the skin. Intramuscular Bruises occur between the muscles, while Periosteal Bruises occur near the bones.

Symptoms and Signs of Bruises

The primary symptom of a bruise is discoloration of the skin. The color of the bruise can indicate its age, as it goes through several stages:

  • Red: indicates fresh blood collection under the skin when the bruise is new.
  • Blue and black: In 1-2 days, the blood ages and loses oxygen, resulting in shades of blue and black.
  • Yellow and green: After 5-6 days, the bruise changes to yellow and green shades due to the breakdown of hemoglobin.
  • Original color: After about a week, the skin begins to regain its original color as the bruise heals.

Other symptoms of bruises may include:

  • Swelling or pain at the affected area
  • Bleeding from the gums, nose, or mouth
  • Blood in the urine, stool, or eyes.

Causes of Bruises

There are many causes of Bruises, some of the main causes include:

  • Car, motorbike, or other vehicular accidents
  • Muscle strain
  • Sports injuries, such as weight training
  • Head injuries
  • Ankle sprains
  • Being hit by something such as a ball or stone
  • Medications used for thinning the blood, like aspirin or warfarin
  • Concussions
  • Unexplained reasons
  • Medications like chemotherapy or suffering from liver failure, Vasculitis, vitamin deficiencies, Cancer, etc.

Age also plays a role in bruising, as older individuals are more likely to get bruises frequently. As someone ages, their skin becomes thinner and blood vessels become more fragile, making them more susceptible to breaking and showing easily with minor hits or blows.

How to Cure a Bruise?

IIn most cases, bruises are not a major concern and can be treated at home using the following practices:

  • First, calm the person down and rest the bruised area.
  • Apply ice packs for at least 24 hours (apply for 15 minutes and then break for 5 minutes) on the injured area to reduce swelling and pain. If you do not have an ice pack, take some ice, put it in a plastic bag, wrap it in a thick cloth or towel, and use it.Please do not put the ice pack directly; always have it covered with a cloth to put on the bruise.
  • Avoid putting too much pressure or rubbing the bruised area
  • In case of a bruise on a leg or arm, lifting it may cause some relief in pain
  • Take over some pain relief medicines on prior approval of the doctor

However, immediate medical help should be sought in the following cases:

  • Bruises occur more frequently than usual
  • If a bruise lasts more than two weeks or does not entirely disappear after 3-4 weeks
  • If bruises appear for no apparent reason
  • If a lump appears in the bruised area (also called Hematoma)
  • Pain and swelling are higher
  • If bruises appear in the eye
  • Having trouble breathing due to bruises on the head or neck
  • If another injury and a bruise occur, like a broken bone or muscle-related injury, etc.
  • If the joints are blocked and you are unable to move them
  • If you are on blood thinning medications.


Though widespread, bruises are a type of skin injury that many people know little about. As a result, people may take them too lightly or sometimes too seriously when the case is the opposite. Therefore, it is essential to understand the details of what pertains to bruises and how they should be treated in different cases for better health.

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