Technically, bruises are referred to as contusions. Bruises usually occur after bumping a body part hard enough to damage tiny capillaries that are under the skin. Damaging these capillaries causes minute quantities of blood to leak into the surrounding tissues. This blood then pools under the skin, making it appear blue, purple, black, or other colors.
After awhile, this blood is removed by the body, healing the bruise. As it heals, the bruise may go through a whole range of colors before finally fading to a light brown, then disappearing.
How Bruises Heal
After an injury occurs, a bruise will go through the following steps as it heals:
- A painful, swollen bump will appear on your skin. It will usually be reddish in color, due to the blood pooling under the skin. The blood also causes the skin to swell.
- After a few days, the bruise will grow darker, often creating the characteristic “black and blue” appearance.
- About a week after the injury, green and yellow might start to appear in the bruise. This is a sign that the bruise is healing.
- After two weeks, the bruise will be almost completely healed, and should appear light brown. All the swelling and pain should be gone. In the following days, the bruise will completely disappear.
How to Make Bruises Heal Faster
Now that we know the healing process of bruises, is there any way we can make it go faster? There are some proven tools and techniques which are definitely able to help bruises heal more quickly. The key to making a bruise heal faster is treating it as soon as possible. If you can treat it right away, you can ensure that it will be less painful and fade much more quickly than if you left it untreated. Here is a comprehensive list of some of the most effective home remedies for healing bruises more quickly:
This is the most important tool for making bruises heal faster. You need to get something cold on your injury as soon as you possibly can. You can use ice, an ice pack, or anything else that is ice cold, such as a bag of frozen food. The cold temperature causes the blood vessels in the tissue to constrict, causing less blood to flow in the injury. This decreases the amount of blood that pools, thereby minimizing the severity of the bruise. This will not only keep the bruise from looking as bad, but it will also reduce pain and swelling, and make the bruise go away faster in the long run. Put cold on the injury for 10-15 minutes. You can put cold on the bruise again after another half and hour. Keep putting cold on the bruise throughout the first day.
Another good technique for minimizing bruising is to use compression on the injury. You can do this by wrapping the injury with a bandage. Compressing the injury also decreases the amount of blood that pools under the skin, reducing the severity of the bruise.
If you can, elevate the injury so that it is above your heart. This also acts to decrease blood flowing to the injury, reducing bruising and swelling. It also helps fluids drain from the bruise, which helps it to heal more quickly.
After the first 24 hours, bruises are formed and applying cold isn’t useful for treating the bruise anymore. However, heat is now a good treatment. Heat causes more blood to flow to the injury, accelerating the healing process and helping the body to drain pooled blood from the injured area. Any type of heat is effective, such as a heating pad, pack, or water bottle.
Arnica is a popular herb that many people use to treat minor burns. However, it can also be effective for bruises, as it helps to heal and reduce swelling. Apply a gel or cream that contains arnica to your bruise a few times per day.
Aloe vera is another natural treatment that is valued for its ability to relive pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. Like arnica, aloe vera is used by many people to treat burns, but is also effective for helping bruises to heal. Always use a product that contains pure aloe vera.
Comfrey is another natural remedy that is an effective treatment for alleviating swelling and is good for bruises. It is used as a cream or as a compress. To make a comfrey compress, steep some comfrey leaves in boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Strain the liquid through some cloth or a strainer. Place a cloth in the liquid and allow it to soak up the liquid. Finally, place the compress on your bruise for about a half and hour. Never use comfrey on an open wound.
Two vitamins that are particularly effective for helping bruises to heal are vitamin K and vitamin C. Vitamin K is the primary nutrient for helping blood to clot. People who are suffering from a deficiency of vitamin K often bruise more easily than others. If you tend to bruise easily, you might want to modify your diet to include more foods that contain a lot of vitamin K. Dark green, leafy vegetables are very rich in vitamin K. Vitamin K also comes in creams that can be applied directly to bruises.
People who have a deficiency of vitamin C may also bruise more easily than normal. Try increasing your intake of vitamin C if you bruise easily. Just as with vitamin K, there are vitamin C creams available that you can put on bruises to help them to heal faster.
When to See a Doctor for a Bruise
Call or visit your physician if you start getting spontaneous bruises on your body where you haven’t received an injury, This may be a symptom of something more serious. There are various conditions which can cause people to bruise more easily, or cause their bruises to not heal. Some of these conditions include hemophilia, anemia, and leukemia.
Call your physician if you get bruised on a joint that becomes swollen. Also, if you get a bruise and it isn’t healed or faded after 2-3 weeks, call your doctor. Finally, if you are suffering from serious pain or have a fever accompanying your bruise, check with your doctor.