Skin | General Practice | Contusion (bruise) (Disease)
A bruise (also known as a contusion) is caused when tiny blood vessels are damaged or broken as the result of a hit to the skin (be it bumping against something or hitting yourself with a hammer). 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. Ecchymosis is a purplish, flat bruise that occurs when blood leaks out into the top layers of skin.
Causes and Risk factors
As a type of hematoma, a bruise is always caused by internal bleeding into the interstitial tissues, usually initiated by blunt trauma, which causes damage through physical compression and deceleration forces. Trauma sufficient to cause bruising can occur from a wide variety of situations including accidents, falls, and surgeries. Disease states such as insufficient or malfunctioning platelets, other coagulation deficiencies, or vascular disorders, such as venous blockage associated with severe allergies can lead to the formation of bruises in situations in which they would not normally occur and with only minimal trauma. If the trauma is sufficient to break the skin and allow blood to escape the interstitial tissues, the injury is not a bruise but instead a different variety of hemorrhage called bleeding, although such injuries may be accompanied by bruising elsewhere.
Increased distress to tissue causes capillaries to break under the skin, allowing blood to escape and build up. As time progresses, blood seeps into the surrounding tissues, causing the bruise to darken and spread. Nerve endings within the affected tissue detect the increased pressure, which, depending on severity and location, may be perceived as pain or pressure or be asymptomatic.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment for light bruises is minimal and may include rest, ice, compression, elevation, painkillers and, later in recovery, light stretching exercises. ...