Bumps and bruises

Skin | General Practice | Bumps and bruises (Disease)


A bruise is a discolored area under the skin caused by leakage of blood from damaged tiny blood vessels called capillaries. At first, the blood appears blue or black; then the breakdown of hemoglobin turns the bruise yellow.

Causes and Risk factors

The raised area of a bump or bruise results from blood leaking from these injured blood vessels into the tissues as well as from the bodys response to the injury. A purplish, flat bruise that occurs when blood leaks out into the top layers of skin is referred to as an ecchymosis. If a bruise does not fade after a week, or if bruises appear for no apparent reason or are severe after only minor injury, they may be indications of a bleeding disorders.

The injury required to produce a bruise varies with age. The amount of bruising may also be affected by medications which interfere with blood clotting and thus cause more bleeding into the skin or tissues. These drugs include: arthritis medication, aspirin and wafarin, cortisone medicine such as prednisone. In addition, patients with inherited clotting problems such as in Hemophilia)or acquired clotting problems such as in patients with liver diseases like cirrhosis, can develop extensive bruising or even life-threatening bleeding.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Bruising is usually a minor problem and does not require a formal medical diagnosis. But with extensive bruising, bruising with no apparent cause, or bruising in certain locations, blood tests could be useful. An X-ray may be required if the surface of the bruise become hard. A bruise usually requires no medical treatment. ...