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Bruises

(continued)

Exams and Tests

If an injury is obviously a bruise and the doctor does not suspect any broken bones, the doctor will probably not perform any tests.

  • If there is swelling or severe pain, the doctor may want to get an X-ray of the area to make sure there are no broken bones.
  • If bruising occurs frequently and for no apparent reason, the doctor may have your blood tested to look for a bleeding disorder.
  • Certain bruises, a pattern of bruises over time and in various stages of healing may alert a doctor to the possibility of physical abuse.

Bruises Treatment -- Home Remedies

The treatment for a bruise is most effective right after the injury, while the bruise is still reddish.

  • A cold compress such as an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables should be applied to the affected area for 20-30 minutes in order to speed healing and reduce swelling. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap the ice pack in a towel.
  • If the bruise takes up a large area of the leg or foot, the leg should be kept elevated as much as possible during the first 24 hours after the injury.
  • Acetaminophen may be taken for pain as instructed on the bottle. Avoid aspirin or ibuprofen because they slow the blood from clotting and may, in fact, prolong the bleeding.
  • After about 48 hours, heat in the form of a warm washcloth applied to the bruise for 10 minutes or so two to three times a day may increase blood flow to the bruised area, allowing the skin to reabsorb the blood more quickly. Ultimately, the bruise will fade in color.

Medical Treatment for a Bruise

Doctors have no special treatment for bruises other than the techniques described above: ice packs and later heat, over-the-counter medications for pain, and elevation of the bruised area, if possible.

A suspected victim of domestic abuse may be referred to a social worker.


 

Bruise Prevention

To prevent a bruise:

  • Wear protective gear (like shin guards) while playing contact sports such a soccer.
  • Place furniture away from doorways and common walking paths within your home.
  • Keep phone and electrical cords away from open areas where you may trip and fall.
  • Be sure floors are kept dry and that rugs are slip resistant.
  • Keep floors free of clutter.
  • Plug in a small night light or use a flashlight if you need to walk to the bathroom during the night.
  • If your doctor has prescribed blood-thinning drugs, be sure to have regular monitoring and adjust medications as necessary.

Outlook

Bruises typically take about two weeks to disappear.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on November 02, 2013
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