Easy Bruising - When to Worry?
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Easy Bruising - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Published on Jan 20, 2023 and last reviewed on Apr 26, 2023   -  5 min read


Easy bruising is very common with age. However, it is often harmless and goes away without treatment. Read this article to know more about it.

What Is a Bruise?

A bruise, also known as a contusion, is a common skin problem that results in skin discoloration from a skin injury. This injury or trauma damages blood vessels beneath the skin, causing them to leak. As a result, blood pools near the skin surface, resulting in black, blue, brown, purple, or yellow marks. No external bleeding occurs unless the skin breaks open.

What Causes Bruising?

Anyone can experience bruising. Most bruising occur from an injury or blows to blood vessels (capillaries), due to which blood collects under the skin, causing a discolored, bruised look, often on the arms or legs. In addition, bruises can develop from a fall, sports injury, accident, or medical procedure.

Who Gets Bruises More Easily?

Some people are more prone to bruising, including

  • Older people are more likely to get bruises because the skin becomes thinner in old age and loses some protective fatty layers that help protect blood vessels from injury.

  • Women tend to get bruises more than others.

  • People who have cancer or liver disease.

  • People with family members who bruise easily.

  • People who take blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin.

  • People who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a longer time, such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or Aspirin.

  • People with bleeding disorders, including von Willebrand disease, hemophilia A or B, or other blood clotting disorders.

  • People with a low blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia).

  • People on topical steroids also tend to bruise more easily as these medications often thin out the skin.

  • People with deficiencies of vitamin C or vitamin K.

  • People who do intense workouts, such as weight lifters and athletes.

  • Unexplained bruises that occur quickly or for no apparent reason can indicate a bleeding disorder, especially if frequent bleeding gums or nosebleeding accompany bruises.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Bruises?

Bruises can be called black-and-blue marks. A fresh bruise may initially appear reddish. But later, it turns purple, blue, black, or brown within a few hours. And as it heels, it becomes yellow or green after a couple of days. A bruise and surrounding area are tender to touch and may be painful for the first few days, but the pain often subsides as the color fades. There is no risk of infection unless the skin is not broken.

Can Easy Bruising Be A Sign of a More Serious Problem?

Not all easy bruising has a simple explanation. Sometimes it can indicate a severe underlying medical condition, including a blood-clotting problem or a blood disease.

Reach out to a healthcare provider for the following conditions:

  • Large, frequent bruises, especially on the trunk, back, and face, or if they develop for unknown reasons.

  • Have a history of prolonged bleeding after a minor cut or surgical procedure.

  • Sudden bruising after starting a new medication.

  • Have a family history of easy bruising or bleeding.

  • Bruising can also occur due to domestic violence or abuse. If a person has an unexplained bruise, especially in an unusual location, such as on the face, it can be a sign of abuse.

How Are Bruises Diagnosed?

Bruises are easy to diagnose. The healthcare professional can identify a bruise simply by its characteristic look and color. However, if bruising occurs frequently and without apparent cause, the health care professional may order specific blood tests to rule out possible causes:

  • If bruising accompanies swelling or pain, X-rays of the area can be done to check for bone fractures.

  • Blood tests may be performed to find out clotting disorders and vitamin deficiencies.

  • A pattern of bruises over time and in many stages of healing may suspect a healthcare professional of the possibility of physical abuse.

If an injury is a bruise and the healthcare professional does not suspect any bone fracture, the professional may not perform any tests.

How Is Bruising Treated?

Most bruises heal within two weeks without intervention. However, more severe bruising may persist for a month or longer. Therefore, the bruise treatment is most effective immediately after the injury when the bruise is still reddish.

The following steps can help bruises heal faster:

  • Apply a cold compress, such as an ice pack, on the bruised area for the first 24 to 48 hours after injury to speed healing and reduce swelling. Wrap the ice pack in a towel and then apply ice to the area for not more than 15 minutes at a time. Repeat it several times throughout the day.

  • If the bruise involves a leg or foot area, rest and elevates the leg in the first 24 hours after the injury to prevent swelling and relieve pain.

  • Take over-the-counter pain medications, such as Acetaminophen.

  • Consult a doctor before using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

  • Avoid taking Aspirin or Ibuprofen as they slow down blood clotting time and may prolong the bleeding.

  • After 48 hours, a warm washcloth should be applied to the bruise for ten minutes twice a day. This increases blood flow to the bruised area, allowing the skin to reabsorb the blood quickly. Eventually, the bruise fades in color.

How to Prevent Bruising?

One can take the following steps to lower the risk of injury and prevent bruising:

  • Wear protective gear such as helmets and pads while playing contact sports like soccer, bicycling, or riding a bike.

  • Place furniture away from doorways and walking paths within the home to prevent bumping into hard surfaces.

  • Keep the floor dry and use slip-resistant rugs. In addition, keep the floors clear of clutter and tripping hazards.

  • Plug in a light or flashlight when walking through poorly lit areas during the night.

  • Ensure regular monitoring and adjusting medications if the doctor has prescribed blood-thinning medications.

  • Include enough vitamins in the diet.

What Is the Outlook for People With Bruises?

Bruises usually take about two weeks to fade away without treatment. However, sometimes bruising can signify a more serious underlying problem, so see a doctor if someone experiences unexplained or large bruises. They may require urgent medical attention.


Bruises typically form when blood collects under the skin after an injury or trauma. They often appear black, blue, brownish, or purple, which change color as they heal. Bruises may look unsightly but often disappear within two months. There is no specific treatment for bruises except for home-based care and over-the-counter medications for pain. However, severe bruising may persist for a month or longer, requiring urgent medical attention.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Causes of Easy Bruising on the Arms?

Easy bruising on the arms can quickly occur due to various reasons like aging, trauma, medication effects like blood thinners and antiplatelet drugs, coagulation disorders, sun damage, genetic disorders, vitamin deficiencies, hormonal changes, and many underlying health conditions that can lead to easy bruising in arms.


Which Vitamins Help to Deal With Easy Bruising?

Vitamins promote blood clotting and maintain healthy blood vessels. Vitamins like vitamins K, C, and E help with easy bruising. They are the primary source of antioxidants and collagen synthesis. These vitamins are beneficial for overall health, including skin health and bruising.


What Are the Causes of Easy Bruising and Fatigue?

Easy bruising and fatigue can occur due to various underlying causes like blood clotting disorders like hemophilia or von Willebrand disease, anemia, medication usage like blood thinners, chronic liver conditions, hormonal imbalance, chronic kidney disease, stress and fatigue, vitamin deficiencies, inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus can cause easy bruising and fatigue.


Which Autoimmune Disease Causes Easy Bruising?

There are no specific conditions that directly lead to easy bruising. Some autoimmune conditions that cause easy bruising are systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, and conditions like von Willebrand disease. All the above autoimmune diseases lead to one of the symptoms as, easy bruising.


What Are the Causes of Easy Bruising in a Child With Petechiae?

Easy bruising in children with petechiae are pinpoint-sized purple-red spots on the skin that can be a concerning issue. These can be caused due to various causes like accidental trauma, viral infections like Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, blood disorders like hemophilia, thrombocytopenia, and medications like NSAIDs, anticoagulants, and antibiotics, and also rare blood cancer. Leukemia can also cause bruising with petechiae.


Which Lack of Vitamins Reveals Easy Bruising?

Easy bruising can be associated with many vitamin deficiencies responsible for blood clotting and blood vessel health. The vitamins involved in easy bruising are vitamin C and K deficiency. This vitamin deficiency can easily lead to symptoms like easy bruising and affect blood clotting factors.


What Is the Cause of Sores on the Buttocks and Easy Bruising?

Sores on the buttocks with easy bruising can be caused due to various factors, including infections, pressure ulcers, trauma, an autoimmune condition like vasculitis and lupus, blood disorders like hemophilia, and intake of medications like corticosteroids and blood thinners can lead to buttock sores. 


Why Do Sulfonamides Cause Easy Bruising?

Sulfonamides are a class of medications that are commonly used as antibiotics to treat various infections. While sulfonamides themselves do not directly cause easy bruising, a potential side effect associated with these medications can lead to an increased risk of bruising. This side effect is known as drug-induced thrombocytopenia.


What Are the Causes of Easy Bruising in Elderly Individuals?

Easy bruising in elderly individuals is affected due to factors like changes in the skin, the natural aging process, causes like medication intake of NSAIDs and drugs that affect blood clotting, fragile skin due to aging, blood changes su to age, vitamin deficiency, long term sun damage, fragile skin syndrome, physical and fall vulnerability and any underlying medical conditions in elderly.


What Are the Causes of Easy Bruising on the Legs?

Bruising on the legs can be caused by various factors that include trauma, vitamin deficiency, liver diseases, thrombocytopenia, clotting disorders and bleeding disorders, autoimmune conditions, cancer, or sepsis.


Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Easy Bruising?

Vitamin C and vitamin K deficiency can cause easy bruising. Both these vitamins are essential for healthy and radiant skin and affect the skin's collagen production. Vitamin K especially affects the blood clotting factors, affecting skin bruising.


Which Diseases Cause Easy Bruising With an Increase in Lymphocytes?

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell involved in the immune response. Easy bruising and increased lymphocytes can indicate several different diseases or conditions. Increase in lymphocytes and bruising results from conditions like leukemia, viral infections, autoimmune disorders, lymphoma, and other chronic liver conditions.


Why Does Leukemia Cause Easy Bruising in Individuals?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow and blood, it causes bruising in many ways due to low platelet count and infiltration of blood vessels as the condition can damage blood vessel walls and leading easy bruising, abnormal platelet function and coagulation disorders can lead to easy bruising.


What Could Be the Causes of Sudden Easy Bruising?

Sudden easy bruising can be caused by various factors, ranging from minor to more serious underlying conditions. Conditions that affect sudden bruising are aging, medication intake, trauma, liver condition, autoimmune disorders, deficiency of vitamins, and genetic factors.


What Medications Can Lead to Easy Bruising?

Medications that can cause easy bruising are blood thinners like aspirin, NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, corticosteroids like Prednisone and Dexamethasone, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anticoagulants like Rivaroxaban. These medications can cause easy bruising, but not all individuals who take them will experience this side effect. Moreover, the benefits of these medications often outweigh the risks of bruising.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
26 Apr 2023  -  5 min read




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