Bruising occurs when small blood vessels underneath the skin break and release blood into the surrounding tissues. This can cause the skin to turn a reddish-purple color and form what is commonly referred to as a “bruise.”
Bruising can occur for many reasons, including injury, physical trauma, or certain medical conditions. Some common causes of bruising include:
- Falls or accidents
- Sports injuries
- Bumps or hits to the skin
- Blood-thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin
- Certain medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders, liver disease, or low levels of vitamin C
In most cases, bruises are not serious and will heal on their own within a few days to a week. If you have frequent or large bruises, or if you have a sudden increase in the number of bruises, it is important to see a doctor to determine the underlying cause.
If you have a painful bruise or a bruise that is accompanied by swelling or redness, you may want to apply a cold compress to the affected area to help reduce swelling and numb the pain. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can also help to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
If you have a bruise that does not heal within a week or two, or if you have a bruise that is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition that requires prompt medical attention.