Bruises are almost an inevitable fact of life for anyone participating in physical activity, and for children in particular – the everyday result of play and exercise. However, bruises should not be taken lightly, as they can come in various forms and levels of severity. Also, it is important to know what to expect if you or your child gets a bruise, and more importantly how to help speed the process of healing a bruise. Provided below are key points on how to manage and heal bruises.
What Are Bruises?
Bruises, also known as contusions, are a form of hematoma of bodily tissues, during which capillaries are damaged causing blood to spread out, or hemorrhage, around nearby tissue.
A bruise can exist not only on the surface of the skin, but also in the underlying tissue, in the muscles, and even on the bone. Bruises are caused by bleeding which is internal, and that spreads to nearby tissue that does not break beyond the surface skin tissue. This internal bleeding is caused usually by some form of trauma to the area, resulting from, for example, a fall, an accident, or during medical surgery. Furthermore, there are different levels of severity associated with bruises. At the lowest level are the light bruises, of which can last up to 2 weeks and are accompanied by a small amount of pain. Next are the moderate and severe bruises, which is considered quite dangerous and can often involve other associated injuries such as damage to bodily organs. For instance, a bruise on the brain can cause concussions or even comas to develop.
How Long Do Bruises Last?
When it comes to the life cycle of bruises, most that you will experience tend to be minor, and dissipate in about one week. At the initial stage, you can expect some swelling as well as the skin to discolor to the classic “black and blue” phase. However, as the bruise begins to heal, the swelling in the bruised area will begin to lessen, with the discoloration changing from black and blue to more of a greenish-brown. It should be noted that if a bruise does not go away in one to two weeks, or else if the bruise worsens, it should be brought to the attention of a doctor.
However, as noted above, the bruise’s life cycle does depend on the level of severity as well as the person’s specific processes of healing. Thus, the more severe the bruise, the longer it will take to heal, and associated injuries may be present and could further complicate the healing process. Also, age and genes have also been known to play a part in how long a bruise will last on a person.
How To Heal Bruises?
The best way to manage a bruise is to decrease the pain, and make sure not to further injure the bruised area. One popular method of healing a bruise is the treatment plan called RICE, which is an acronym that stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Regarding rest, it is very important to allow the bruised area the necessary time to heal, which involves resting the area by not exercising it, enabling the self-repair process to begin. Ice is the next step, meaning that one should apply to the bruised area a pack of ice, as long as there are no cuts or scrapes on the injured area. By applying ice to the bruise, the blood vessels will be able to constrict. Next up is the compression stage, during which pressure should be put on the bruised area, as well as some light massaging. Doing so will enable more blood to flow through the area, thus causing a decrease in pain. The final stage of the RICE method is to elevate the bruised area. By doing so, any swelling will be decreased, while blood flow will be increased. Additionally, to further speed up the healing of bruises, try applying a topical bruise cream which has ingredients such as arnica and witch hazel, both of which will work to lessen the pain and restore color and repair blood vessels.