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How to Get Rid of Bruises

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How to Get Rid of Bruises

Three Methods:Treating BruisesTrying Home RemediesSeeking Medical TreatmentCommunity Q&A

Bruises, also known as contusions, are caused by broken blood vessels under the surface of your skin. Typically, bruises are caused by falling, bumping into things, or getting hit with an object like a ball. While bruises fade over time, there are a few things you can do to speed up the healing process.

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The fastest way to get rid of an older older bruise is to massage the area around the bruise, but avoid touching the bruise itself. To get rid of a new bruise, ice the area immediately and elevate it to reduce discoloration. Take an over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen for pain relief, but avoid aspirin which can make your bruise worse. Keep reading for more ways you can help get rid of bruises fast as well as advice on when you should see your doctor!

1

Treating Bruises

  1. 1
    Ice the bruise. Putting an ice pack on the bruise will reduce swelling and help it heal more quickly. Wrap an ice pack, resealable plastic bag filled with ice chips, or a bag of frozen veggies in a towel and apply it to the bruise for 10-20 minutes at a time. Repeat multiple times over the first 2 days.[1]

    • Flexible gel-filled ice packs, specifically designed for injuries, are available from sports shops. Athletes usually keep a few on-hand to fight bruises.
  2. 2
    Elevate the area. Reduce blood flow to the bruised area with a little help from gravity in order to prevent blood from pooling and reduce discoloration. Aim to elevate the bruised part of your body a few inches above your heart.[2]

    • For instance, if the bruise is on your leg, settle onto the couch and rest your leg on top of a few pillows.
    • If your arm is bruised, try to prop it up on an armrest or a few pillows, so that it’s at heart-level or above.
    • If your torso is bruised, you might be out of luck. Focus on icing the area instead.
  3. 3
    Wrap the bruise with a compression bandage. Compression bandages decrease the blood flow to the wrapped area, which can prevent blood from pooling at the site of the bruise. They also help reduce swelling and pain. Don’t wrap the bruise too tightly, though; simply wind an elastic bandage around the area.[3]

    • Only wrap the area for the first 1-2 days.
  4. 4
    Rest if possible. Working your muscles increases blood flow to that area, which won’t help a bruise heal. Call it a day and cool your jets, both to prevent further injury and give your bruise a chance to heal.[4]

    • Hang out on the couch. Watch a movie, play a game, read a book, or just do something that doesn’t require much physical activity.
    • Head to bed early. Your body needs sleep to repair itself, so hit the hay as soon as you feel tired.
  5. 5
    Take acetaminophen if necessary. If the bruise is particularly painful, take an over-the-counter painkiller for relief. Follow the dosage instructions and never take more than the recommended amount.[5]

    • Avoid aspirin or ibuprofen, which act as blood-thinners and could make your bruise worse.[6]
  6. 6
    Apply moist heat after 24 hours. After the first 24 hours or so, applying moist heat can help get rid of a bruise. Use a reusable heat pack or a warm washcloth rather than something like an electric blanket as wet heat is better for injuries than dry heat.[7]

    • Apply the heat pack for a couple of minutes at a time, on and off for 1-2 days.
  7. 7
    Stay away from certain foods that can prolong bruising. Some foods and supplements, including St. John’s Wort, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, ginkgo, ginseng, alcohol, and garlic can all prolong bruising. Stay away from these foods while you heal.[8]

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Method 1 Quiz

How should you apply heat to a bruise?

Correct! You should use a reusable heat pack or a warm washcloth to apply heat to a bruise because wet heat is better for injuries than dry heat. Apply the heat pack for a few minutes at a time, on and off, for 1 to 2 days. Read on for another quiz question.

Nope! You only need to apply heat on and off for 1 to 2 days, not 3 to 4 days. After that, it doesn’t have as many benefits. Guess again!

Not exactly! Applying moist heat for 24 hours after you develop a bruise can help it heal. Use a reusable heat pack or warm washcloth to apply heat for a few minutes at a time. Pick another answer!

2

Trying Home Remedies

  1. 1
    Massage the area around the bruise. Don’t massage directly around the bruise. Massage 1–2 centimeters (0.39–0.79 in) around the outside of the visible bruise, as they tend to be bigger than they look. Directly massaging a bruise can irritate it and make it worse.[9]

    • Do this several times a day beginning the day after the bruising occurs. This will help your body’s normal lymphatic process to clear it away.
    • Keep in mind that the pressure shouldn’t be painful. If the bruise is too painful to touch, hold off.
  2. 2
    Spend 10-15 minutes in the sun each day. Ultraviolet light breaks down bilirubin, which is the product of hemoglobin breakdown that causes the yellowish color of a bruise. If possible, expose the bruise to sunlight to accelerate the isomerization of the remaining bilirubin.[10]

    • Around 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight a day should be enough to help break up your bruise without leading to a sunburn. Apply sunscreen to the rest of your exposed skin when outdoors.
  3. 3
    Get more vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the amount of collagen around blood vessels, which can help get rid of bruising. Eat foods like oranges and dark, leafy greens to ensure you’re getting vitamin C in your diet.[11]
  4. 4
    Use arnica ointment or gel daily. Arnica is an herb that has long been recommended for bruises. It contains a compound that reduces inflammation and swelling. Pick up an ointment that contains arnica from a drugstore, and rub it over the bruise once or twice a day.[12]

    • Do not apply arnica to a cut or an open wound.
  5. 5
    Eat pineapple or papaya. Bromelain, a digestive enzyme found in pineapple and papaya, breaks down proteins that trap fluids in the tissues after an injury. Eat pineapple or papaya once a day to help speed up the healing process.[13]
  6. 6
    Spread vitamin K cream over the area. Vitamin K can help stop the bleeding as it causes your blood to clot. Visit a drugstore and pick up a vitamin K cream. Apply it as directed on the package to help get rid of the bruise.[14]

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Method 2 Quiz

How does vitamin C help heal bruises?

Not exactly! Massaging the area around your bruise can boost your body’s normal lymphatic process, helping your bruise heal. Vitamin C, on the other hand, increases the amount of collagen around blood vessels, which also helps your bruise heal. Click on another answer to find the right one…

Nope! Ultraviolet light, not vitamin C, dissipates bilirubin, which is a result of hemoglobin breakdown. You should expose your bruise to sunlight for about 10 to 15 minutes a day to encourage this breakdown. Click on another answer to find the right one…

Yup! Vitamin C increases the amount of collagen around blood vessels, which can help bruises heal. You can get vitamin C from citrus fruits, like oranges, or dark, leafy greens, like kale. Read on for another quiz question.

Not quite! If you want to reduce inflammation and swelling around your bruise, you should use arnica ointment or gel, not vitamin C. You can find this product at most drug stores. Apply once or twice a day. Try another answer…

3

Seeking Medical Treatment

  1. 1
    Call emergency services if you feel extreme pressure around the bruise. If you feel pressure, severe pain, tenderness, muscle tightness, tingling, burning, weakness, or numbness in the area around the bruise, you may have compartment syndrome. Call emergency services so you can get to a hospital immediately.[15]

    • Compartment syndrome occurs when there is swelling and/or bleeding in a muscle compartment. The pressure in the muscle compartment decreases the amount of blood flow to the area, which can cause nerve and muscle damage.
  2. 2
    Seek medical attention if you have a lump over the bruise. If a lump forms on top of the bruise, it could be a hematoma. Visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible, as the blood may need to be drained from the area.[16]

    • A hematoma forms when blood pools under the surface of the skin, causing swelling.[17]
  3. 3
    Visit a healthcare provider if you think you have a fever or infection. If the skin is broken and the area around the bruise is red, hot, or oozing pus, it may indicate an infection. Similarly, if you have a fever, this could also be due to an infection. If you notice these symptoms, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.[18]

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Method 3 Quiz

Why should you seek medical attention if you have a lump over your bruise?

Nope! Compartment syndrome occurs when there is swelling and/or bleeding in a muscle compartment. The decreases the amount of blood flow to the area, which can cause nerve and muscle damage. However, the symptoms of compartment syndrome include pressure, severe pain, tenderness, muscle tightness, tingling, burning, weakness, or numbness – not a lump over your bruise. Pick another answer!

Right! A hematoma forms when blood pools under the surface of the skin, causing swelling. If you notice a lump form on top of your bruise, it could be a hematoma. Visit your doctor as soon as possible because you may need to drain blood from the area. Read on for another quiz question.

Not exactly! If the skin is broken, the area around the bruise is red, hot, or oozing pus, and/or you have a fever, you may have an infection. A lump over your bruise is not an indication of an infection. Pick another answer!

Community Q&A

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Add New Question

  • Question
    Does aspirin slow the healing of a bruise?
    LL

    Luba Lee, FNP-BC
    Family Nurse Practitioner

    Luba Lee is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee. She received her M.S.N. from the University of Tennessee in 2006.

    LL

    Family Nurse Practitioner
    Expert Answer

    Aspirin has been shown to delay wound and bruise healing and therefore should be avoided.

  • Question
    How do I get rid of bruises caused by needles?
    LL

    Luba Lee, FNP-BC
    Family Nurse Practitioner

    Luba Lee is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee. She received her M.S.N. from the University of Tennessee in 2006.

    LL

    Family Nurse Practitioner
    Expert Answer

    If you had an aesthetic procedure you may want to follow the instructions of your health care provider. Bruising will usually resolve in healthy individuals within 10 to 14 days but it may persist for longer. Applying cold packs within the first 48 hours followed by heat can aid resolution. Using topical application of arnica gel, or vitamin K8, or bromelain can reduce the development of a bruise and may also increase the speed of resolution. Bromelain is an enzyme derived from pineapple that can be taken at a dose of 200 to 400 mg three times per day to speed healing and help the body clear metabolic waste following an injury. During the healing time, you may use a concealer to diminish the appearance of the bruises.

  • Question
    How long do I need to leave the vinegar on the bruise?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Apply it for about 30- 45 minutes per day, 3 times a day.

  • Question
    How do I quickly get rid of bruises on my face?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Put an ice pack on it for 15 minutes every hour while at home. You can also try applying parsley between the ice packs.

  • Question
    What do I do if a bruise isn’t responding to heat or cold?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    If heat or cold doesn’t help, then you should resort to other natural remedies, like parsley and bananas.

  • Question
    How do I get rid of bruises on my face?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    You can help get rid of bruises on the face by getting some ice, wrapping it in a napkin, and putting it on the bruise for 5-10 minutes. It won’t get rid of it immediately, but it will help make it less visible and less painful.

  • Question
    I have a bruise that is almost gone, but I can feel a bump under my skin where I got the bruise. How can I get rid of that bump?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Try some cold therapy. Get an ice pack (or make your own by filling a durable plastic bag with ice) and wrap it in a soft, clean towel. Place the towel against the bump for no more than 20 minutes. Wait 10 minutes before reapplying it. If the bump persists, consider visiting your doctor.

  • Question
    Will ice help 3 days after bruising?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Yes, the ice will help, but it could take longer to heal depending on the severity of your injury.

  • Question
    How long will it take until the bruise is completely gone after using ice?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    It should take about a week. If the bruise is still there after two weeks, see a doctor.

  • Question
    How can I get rid of a bruise on my finger?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Apply ice to the area for ten minutes at a time and avoid using your finger as it heals.

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    Warnings

    • Consult a doctor before starting any new medications or stopping any current ones.
    • Make sure you’re not allergic to anything before trying any of the methods listed.
    • When bruises appear suddenly without cause, you should seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.
    • Home remedies to treat bruising aren’t medically tested and, like any home remedy, carry unknown risks.[19]

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