Bruises: Causes and Treatments

Bruise Treatment and Prevention

You've just run into a desk at work, and you know you're probably going to get a nasty bruise. What can you do to minimize bruising after an injury?

Although most bruises disappear over time, you can take some steps to speed up the process.

  • First of all, apply a cold compress to the area. If you don't have an icepack readily available, put some ice in a plastic bag, wrap the bag in a towel and place it on the area of injury. The cold will reduce blood flow to the injury and thus will limit the size of the bruise. Additionally, the cold will decrease the inflammation of the area and limit swelling.
  • Secondly, if possible, elevate the injured area to a level above the heart. This will decrease the blood flow to the area and will prevent blood from gathering around the injury.
  • Next, try to rest the area so that the muscles near the injury won't be overworked.
  • Apply pressure to the area with your hand. This will help to reduce bleeding.
  • Finally, if your bruise is causing a lot of pain, take acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin) for pain relief instead of a blood thinning medicine such as aspirin.

But how can you prevent bruising in the first place? Although no one intentionally intends to get a bruise, you can take some measures to reduce your risk. First, teach children how to play safely. While it's hard to avoid childhood bumps and bruises altogether, some tips on how to be careful and be aware of your surroundings could help prevent particularly painful blows. Next, be careful when doing work around the house. For example, have someone spot-check you while climbing on ladders. Finally, be sure to use proper safety equipment when playing sports. Shin guards and elbow and knee pads can protect areas that are prone to bruising during contact sports.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


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