How Do You Heal a Bruise

How do you heal a bruise? Bruises can be quite embarrassing, especially if you're scheduled to wear a cocktail dress and just gave blood, leaving a bruise on your delicate inner arm. For the best techniques on how to heal a bruise, you need to understand what causes a bruise and what you can do to reduce the time of that unsightly mark.

What Is a Bruise?
Bruises are caused by trauma to tissue and blood vessels, resulting in bleeding under the skin. The type of bruise you develop is categorized by your body's response to the trauma. A typical bruise, where the tissue has been damaged but begins healing again rather quickly, is called a contusion.

If the damaged tissue and blood vessels bleed extensively, your body may respond by walling off the pool of blood so that it becomes quite swollen or even hard. This is called a hematoma. In some cases, your doctor may decide to drain some of the pooled blood. In even rarer cases, your body may deposit calcium in the pooled blood, causing the bruise to harden even more, creating a rigid, swollen bump referred to as heterotropic ossification. The swollen area will be very tender to the touch, and you'll need to see a doctor for treatment if this happens.

Treating a Bruise
The key to healing a bruise is to act quickly after the trauma occurs. Apply ice wrapped in a towel to the bruise for 20 minutes. Let the traumatized area rest for 10 to 20 minutes longer, then apply ice in a towel for another 20 minutes. If you are very concerned about preventing the bruise, you can continue with this process-icing and resting-for as long as you feel it is necessary. In most cases, icing it twice right away and then icing it again in a few hours should be enough to reduce the bruising.

If the bruise swells into a hematoma or a heterotropic ossification, you will want to see your doctor. Your doctor has many ways to heal injuries that you won't have at home. He or she may decide to drain the blood, apply a compression pack or prescribe drugs that will slow the internal bleeding at the site of the bruise.

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