A bruise, also known as a contusion, is a common skin injury that occurs when small blood vessels (capillaries) near the skin’s surface rupture due to trauma or injury. The leaking blood from the damaged vessels collects under the skin, causing discoloration and tenderness. Bruises can vary in size and color, typically starting as red or purple, then changing to blue or green, and eventually fading to yellow or brown as they heal.
Related Glossary Terms
- Hematoma: A larger, more extensive collection of blood under the skin or in an organ, often caused by more significant trauma.
- Ecchymosis: A medical term for a larger bruise with a purple or dark red discoloration caused by the accumulation of blood.
- Petechiae: Tiny, pinpoint-sized red or purple spots on the skin, caused by small broken blood vessels, often associated with bleeding disorders or certain medical conditions.
- Hemophilia: A genetic disorder characterized by impaired blood clotting, leading to excessive bleeding and easy bruising.
- Platelets: Blood cells responsible for clotting and preventing excessive bleeding.
- Coagulation: The process of blood clotting to stop bleeding.
- Capillaries: Tiny blood vessels that connect arteries and veins, involved in the exchange of nutrients and waste products between blood and tissues.
- Trauma: Injury or damage caused by a sudden physical force or impact.
- Bruise Healing: The process by which the body reabsorbs the leaked blood and gradually resolves the bruise. Healing time can vary depending on the extent of the injury and an individual’s overall health.
- Contusion: Another term for a bruise or injury to the soft tissues.
Bruises are generally not serious and often heal on their own with time. To aid in the healing process and alleviate discomfort, applying ice to the affected area shortly after the injury can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Resting the injured area and keeping it elevated can also be beneficial.
However, if a bruise occurs without any apparent injury, or if there is excessive bruising, unexplained bleeding, or associated symptoms like severe pain or swelling, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional. These signs could be indicative of an underlying medical condition that requires further evaluation and management.