Bruises - Contusions
A force that contacts the skin causes bruises. For example, falls, bumping into something or punches can cause bruises. A greater force is required for a bruise to develop in a young person than in an older person because as people age, the blood vessels become more fragile.
You should contact a doctor if you have a blood clotting disorder or take blood thinner medications. You should contact your doctor if a bruise gets larger or harder and does not appear to be going away.
A doctor can diagnose a bruise by looking at your skin. You should tell your doctor if you have experienced a fall or trauma. Your doctor may order X-rays if a bone fracture is suspected.
You can help decrease bruising if you apply a cold pack right after an injury. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Instead, place ice cubes in a plastic bag, and wrap the plastic bag in a towel. You may also use a cold pack that is available in most drug stores.
Am I at Risk
• Heart valve infections (endocarditis)
• Blood-clotting problems (platelets, hemophilia, liver cirrhosis)
• Autoimmune diseases
• Broken bones (fractures)
Certain medications can increase the risk of bruising, including:
• Prescription arthritis medications
• Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
• Prescription “blood thinner” medication
• Prescription cortisone medications
In some cases, blood may pool under the skin or a muscle creating a hematoma. A hematoma can cause the bruise to increase in size or raise. A hematoma can cause increased pain.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.