Falling off from bicycles or tripping your knees on the pavement road can either result in abrasion of the skin or bruises. Indeed, either skin abrasion or bruises both can cause discomfort and, in some cases, can rather be painful. Although in most minor cases one does not need an immediate or urgent visit to a doctor for medicine, it is always best to get medical advice whenever such a lesion does not resolve or happens without any reasons. In this article, we will be talking about bruises and what can cause it.
Bruise is a very common skin injury characterised by discoloration of the skin where area has been affected. The discoloration occurs as a result of damaged blood cells underneath the skin from a damaged small blood vessel that is accumulated near the surface of the skin. Common discoloration of the skin includes the black, purple and blue shade of colour, sometimes reddish or pinkish. The colour then changes into green, yellow and brown over time due to the breakdown of the haemoglobin from the blood. The body then reabsorbs the blood and the mark disappears.
Apart from changes of colour of the bruises itself that is noticeable from time to time, there are also other symptoms that are associated with bruises. Bruises usually are tender and at times can be painful for the first couple of days but eventually subside along the changes colour of the bruises or fading colour. Since bruises itself does not involve any opening or tearing of the skin surface, there is no risk for infection when somebody is presented with bruises only.
One thing for sure, bruises are expected to be caused from certain injury of bumping or something bumping into the body parts or the face. Some people may easily bruise compared to another person. Sometimes people may notice bruises but not exactly acknowledge why such a condition happens. The same force of injury may cause a person to develop larger bruises in contrast with other people. Some people’s bruises may heal slower compared to others. Such varieties in the result can be caused by several causes:
- Bleeding disorder such as in haemophilia (low levels of blood clotting factor VIII or factor IX) and von Willebrand Disease (VWD).
- Connective tissues disorder such as in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome causing fragility to the blood vessels.
- Liver disease such as cirrhosis affects the blood clotting process.
- Changes of the skin due to the aging process causing the skin to become thinner and less cushion to protect blood vessels from injury.
- Certain medications that thin the blood such as aspirin and warfarin or dietary supplements such as the ginkgo biloba.
- Vitamin deficiency such as low vitamin C and vitamin K that could affect the structures of blood vessels and blood clotting respectively.
- Kidney disease affects the platelets to function normally.
- Blood cancers such as leukaemia that affect the blood cells including platelets that should be working as part of the blood clotting mechanism.
Since there are many causes that could be causing unknown bruises or are unexplainable, it is best to get medical advice to discuss the possibility of the disease underlying such a condition. If bruises do not improve within 2 weeks or fail to resolve completely after 3 to 4 weeks, do get medical advice. Most often, not much can be done when bruises have already appeared. There are no special or specific treatments to treat bruises apart from using ice packs, over-the-counter medications to alleviate pain and elevation of the bruised area to help enhance blood flow and reabsorption of the blood. People who bruises easily may need additional other treatment depending on the causes or underlying medical conditions.