Have you bumped your leg into a bedpost or fell down on the ground while playing sports? And now, you are asking yourself how to get rid of a bruise fast and as quickly as possible?
Well, you are definitely not alone. Each and every one of use has at some point in life developed a bruise on the skin. This fact makes a leading question “How to get rid of a bruise quickly?” one of the most relevant topics there is.
Table of contents
Small bruises that appear on the human skin as a result of clumsiness are not life-threatening; however, they can be unsightly and painful. A bruise develops in a matter of minutes after a trauma is caused to the tissue, but it, unfortunately, takes up to 15 days for it to fully disappear.
So, what is a bruise and how to get rid of a bruise quickly? Keep on reading and you might just find the right answer to your burning questions.
A bruise is a common skin injury formed when a hit or blow damages blood vessels, capillaries, lying right underneath the surface of the skin. Breakage of capillaries causes a small amount of blood to leak into the surrounding tissue underneath the skin. This blood doesn’t leak out of the body because the skin is not torn up, but it stays trapped underneath it instead, causing a visible discoloration of the affected dermis.
The symptoms of a bruise include:
- A fresh bruise may have initial reddish color, changing into blue and dark purple shade within a couple of hours. This intense discoloration gradually fades into green-yellowish shade before disappearing completely.
- A feeling of tenderness and pain at its highest intensity in the first couple of days after bruising.
- Swelling and inflammation without infection.
These symptoms may seem general in nature, however, they can still differ in their intensity and severity. Bruises come in different shapes and sizes and are caused by various reasons.
Here is a list of most common causes of bruising:
- When knowingly or unknowingly a person gets hit by an object or bumps into it. Unexplained bruises on legs are usually a result of bumping into a bedpost or a corner of a table.
- Vigorous exercising of athletes or weight lifters tends to cause microscopic tearing of blood vessel underneath the skin.
- Unexplained bruises may be a result of a bleeding disorder, especially if accompanied by frequent nose bleeding and bleeding of gums.
- Bruises may occur in elderly people due to the thinning of the skin and tissue supporting underlying blood vessels.
- Blood-thinning medicine, such as Aspirin, may make some people more prone to bruising.
Factors, such as the size of a bruise, severity of symptoms and cause of bruising determine whether a person should seek medical attention or let the body heal the injury on its own with or without the help of home remedies
So, when should you visit a doctor? You should visit a doctor when/if:
- you notice an extremely painful swelling around the affected area,
- the pain hasn’t vanished away three days after a minor injury,
- you frequently bruise, of have large or painful bruises, particularly if they appear on your back, face or trunk, or seem to be developing for an unknown reason,
- you have a high fever or the bruised area develops signs of infection (pus or blood drainage),
- you have a large bruise with an extreme feeling of pressure around it,
- you bruise easily and have a history of drastic bleeding, for instance during surgical procedures,
- you notice that a lump (hematoma) has formed over your bruise,
- you experience abnormal bleeding from other parts of the body, for instance, your nose or gums, or notice blood in your urine or stool,
- you suddenly begin bruising but don’t have a history of bruising,
- easy bruising and bleeding run in your family.
These abnormal signs of bodily distress may be an indication of serious underlying health problems, such as blood-clotting disorder, leukemia, anemia, hemophilia and other blood-related illnesses.
Large bruises that cause a feeling of extreme pressure impeding the blood flow and supply of oxygen to the enclosed muscle area of the body may be even life-threatening (compartment syndrome)
How to get rid of a bruise fast: Two Phases of Healing
Small bruises that people get due to their clumsiness can heal on their own without any medications and homemade treatments. It usually takes from 12 to 15 days for a bruise to disappear. However, with following little tricks you can make the discoloration of your skin and pain vanish away at a much faster pace.
We can divide the process of healing into two phases. The first phase takes place in first 48 hours after bruising while the second phase begins immediately after that. Here are few directions on what you need to do during both phases of treatment to make your bruise disappear faster:
Phase I: Reducing blood flow
The first phase of treatment emphasizes the importance of reducing blood rush into the injury to minimize the discoloration of the skin. You can slow your blood flow to the affected area with these treatments and measures:
- Cold compress:
Applying ice compress on a bruise is one of the simplest ways to reduce blood flow. The low temperature of the ice contracts damaged blood vessels which instantly reduces the leakage of blood into the tissue. This way, a bruise appears less red-purplish because the amount of pooled blood underneath the skin is lesser. On top of that, ice numbs the skin, which makes the pain associated with a bruise much more tolerable. And, if you have been wondering about how to get rid of a stone bruise, ice compress may just help you alleviate the pain metatarsalgia as well.
- Wrap your ice pack or ice cubes in a cloth, and if you don’t have these supplies, simply soak a clean cloth in cold water and drain the excess liquid out.
- Place you cold compress on you bruise and hold it in place for 15 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the compress, and leave the bruise as is for at least an hour before repeating the application of your ice compress.
- Repeat this process for first 48 hours after bruising.
NOTE: Do not apply an ice pack or ice cubes directly on your skin without a protective layer of cloth. Low temperatures may cause frostbite and worsen your skin injury.
- Elastic bandage compression:
Wrap your bruised area with an elastic bandage to minimize the blood flow and damage to the tissue. A bandage will appropriately squeeze affected area and prevent excessive leakage of blood. Make sure you don’t wrap your arm or leg too tightly because this may lead to inflammation. If you feel numbness, tingling sensation, coolness or pain in the injured area, loosen your bandage a little bit.
- Keep you bruised area elevated:
You can minimize blood rush into the bruised area with the help of gravity. To prevent blood from pooling in the tissue underneath the skin simply keep your affected leg or hand slightly elevated whenever you are sitting or lying down. Use cushions or pillows for support, and try to keep your bruised part of the body at or above the level of your heart. It is recommended to keep affected location elevated even when sleeping or when applying ice compress on the skin.
- Rest your body:
Excessive activeness in the first day after a bruise has developed can worsen the symptoms of injury. Contracting muscles increase blood circulation, which leads to blood pooling. Simply, slow down your pace, take a break and avoid being part of demanding physical activities. Daily nap and good night sleep will decrease the risks of abnormal blood leaking and keep your immune system robust and ready for recovery.
Phase II: Promoting blood circulation
Unlike the first phase, the second phase promotes blood circulation in the affected area of the body to speed up the healing process. You can improve your blood circulation with following steps:
- Warm compress:
Applying heat to the bruise helps speed up the healing process because efficient blood flow helps clear the pooled blood underneath the skin. High temperatures also dilate blood vessels, which instantly increase oxygen supply for faster cell regeneration and recuperation of the whole body.
- You can use an electric heating pad as a source of heat for your bruised area. Place the electric heating pad on your injury for 10-20 minutes at a time and repeat the application several times a day.
- You may also use a bottle filled with hot water or washcloth soaked in warm water instead. Apply your compress of choice to your injury several times a day.
- Expose your bruise to sunlight:
Sun is a great source of heat as well. Expose your bruise to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes a day and let the sun rays penetrate deep into the layers of your skin. Natural warmth will stimulate your blood circulation and instantly supply affected tissue with vital oxygen. Ultraviolet radiation will also help your body break down bilirubin, a compound that gives your bruise a yellow color.
- Massage bruised area:
When initial 24 hours after getting a bruise have passed, gently start massaging your affected and surrounding area several times a day to help lymphatic process clear pooled blood away. Don’t put a lot of pressure on your bruise, you don’t want to damage freshly healed tissue. If your bruise is too sensitive and the massage is too painful, postpone the process and try again the next day.
NOTE: Second phase of treatment should take place when 48 to 72 hours from the time you got the bruise have passed. Heat applied in the first two days after bruising may worsen the blood pooling underneath the skin.
How to get rid of a bruise fast: Home remedies
You can elevate the effectiveness of first and second phase of healing by incorporating these home remedies into your treatment routine. Indication written in brackets will let you know in which phase a particular home remedy is recommended to be used.
NOTE: homemade treatments are general in nature and are not recommendation or substitute for the treatment provided by your medical specialist. If you are having any doubts or concerns about the listed remedies, consult your medical specialist beforehand.
- Parsley paste (First phase)
- Crush a handful of fresh organic parsley leaves in a mortar.
- Spread the parsley paste over your bruise.
- Wrap the bruised area with an elastic bandage.
- Parsley will reduce inflammation, discoloration, and pain.
- Vinegar compress (Second phase)
- ¼ cup of vinegar
- 2 to 3 cups of warm water
- Pour vinegar in warm water and mix both ingredients thoroughly.
- Soak a cloth or gauze in the solution.
- Gently rub your bruise with this cloth to improve blood circulation and diminish pooled blood underneath the skin.
- Comfrey compress (Second phase)
- 2 tbsp of dried comfrey leaves or 4 tbsp of fresh comfrey leaves
- 2 cups of boiling hot water
- Place comfrey leaves in a bowl and pour hot water over them.
- Let the leaves steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain the water to remove leaves.
- Soak a clean washcloth or gauze pad in the infused water.
- Apply this warm comfrey to your bruised skin.
- Leave the compress on your skin for 1 hour.
NOTE: Do not apply comfrey compress, or comfrey leaves on broken, cut or wounded skin. Comfrey leaves should not be taken internally.
- Arnica salve (Second phase)
- 2 cups of coconut oil
- ¾ cup of dried arnica Montana flowers
- ½ cup of beeswax granules
- Place dried arnica herb in a double boiler and pour coconut oil over it.
- Stir both ingredients well and make sure the arnica is completely submerged in coconut oil.
- Cover your double boiler with a lid and let the ingredients infuse on low heat for 12 to 24 hours.
- Stir every now and then to make sure that arnica is covered in oil.
- When done, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for an hour.
- Strain infused coconut oil into a bowl with a cheesecloth to get rid of the arnica herb.
- Pour filtered oil back into the double boiler placed over low heat.
- Add beeswax to oil and stir until the granules dissolve completely.
- When done, remove double boiler from the heat and allow the mixture to cool down for about an hour before you store it in a mason jar.
- You can use this arnica salve for bruises, aching muscles, and sprains.
NOTE: Do not apply arnica to broken skin.
Conclusion + Last tips on how to get rid of bruise quickly
Bruises have similar appearance but they can be caused by various reasons. If you have determined that your bruise is not a serious injury or a symptom of an underlying condition, you can speed up the recovery by giving both cold and warm compress therapies a try. Additional home remedies made of vinegar or fresh or dried herbs can help you speed up the healing process.
You can make your home treatment of a bruise even more effective with these last tips:
- If the bruise is causing you too much pain, take a painkiller, for instance, acetaminophen. Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen or other blood thinning medications because they may prolong the bleeding.
- Eat pineapple. Bromelain enzyme found in pineapple breaks proteins in the body responsible for inflammation and pain.
- If you bruise easily, try incorporating foods rich in vitamin C flavonoids, and vitamin K into your diet.
- If you have a bruise on your face that is causing you a lot of pain or is abnormally swollen seek medical attention. Visit a doctor especially if you are experiencing nausea, dizziness, vomiting or mental confusion. If you determine that your bruise on the face doesn’t require professional assistance, give the mentioned healing phases and home remedies a try. Just be extremely gentle and make sure that chosen remedy doesn’t come in contact with your eyes.
If you follow all of the tips and decide on the suitable way of how to get rid of bruise, you will notice it disappear in now time!