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Sprains and Bruises

Published on Apr 25, 2019 and last reviewed on Jun 10, 2022   -  4 min read


A sprain is caused due to stretching or tearing of ligaments, which are fibrous tissues that connect bones together in a joint like the ankle,A bruise is the discoloration of the skin caused due to an injury.

Sprains and Bruises

What Is a Bruise?

A bruise is the discoloration of the skin caused due to an injury. Because of an injury, blood vessels get damaged, and blood from the damaged vessels gets collected near the surface of the skin. The different types of bruises are:

What Is a Sprain?

A sprain is caused due to stretching or tearing of ligaments, which are fibrous tissues that connect bones together in a joint like the ankle. A sprain is usually accompanied by bruising, as the injury also damages the blood vessels near the joint causing bluish discoloration of the skin. An ankle sprain is the most common sports injury. The grades for sprains are:

It is often difficult to differentiate a sprain from a strain. As the symptoms are the same for both, the only difference is a strain is caused by injury to the muscles or fibrous tissue that connects a muscle to the bone (tendons).

What Are the Causes of a Bruise and Sprain?

Usually, the sprained joint will have some bruising around it. The causes of a sprain are:

  1. Sports injuries.

  2. Walking on an uneven surface.

  3. Landing the wrong way after a jump.

  4. Vigorous exercise.

  5. Fall.

  6. Poor flexibility.

  7. Overexertion.

  8. Lifting heavy objects.

  9. Poor posture.

Apart from these causes, bruising is also seen in patients with bleeding or clotting disorders, leukemia, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), concussions, varicose veins, and people on blood thinners (Heparin and Warfarin).

What Are the Symptoms of a Bruise and Sprain?

The symptoms associated with bruising depend on the cause. Pain and bluish discoloration of the skin are the symptoms seen. As the bruise heals, it can change into the following colors:

Some of the common symptoms of a sprain are:

How Are Bruise and Sprain Treated at Home?

First aid for muscle sprain and bruise is done with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).

Other measures include:

When to worry about a bruise or sprain

As bruises are a surface injury, they do not need medical attention. But sometimes it can be due to some serious underlying condition. Consult your doctor immediately in the following situations:

Home treatments may be used for mild to moderate sprain, but in the following cases, get immediate medical attention:

How to Prevent Bruises and Sprains?

Mild sprains and bruises may get better with the help of home remedies in about a couple of weeks. If your symptoms are getting worse, or if you see spontaneous bruising without any injury, consult your doctor immediately.


Frequently Asked Questions


Is bruising with a sprained ankle a good sign?

Bruising, along with a sprained ankle, means that there is bleeding caused under your skin because of some tear. This can lead to severe pain, swelling, and can make the skin over the ankle to turn bluish-black. You will not be able to walk, as the ligaments in your ankle will not function properly.


On a sprained ankle, how long does the bruising last?

A sprained ankle might take around four to six weeks to heal if the ligaments are not damaged too much. If they are damaged or torn or cut, it might take longer to heal. And for the bruising, it should go away in a couple of weeks.


Are sprain and bruise the same?

No, they are not the same. A sprain is when the ligaments get stretched or tear due to an injury, and a bruise is the collection of blood under the skin due to injury of blood vessels.


Should you be walking on a sprained ankle?

You might get tempted to walk off a sprained ankle, but never do that. Walking after an ankle injury can worsen the damage done to the ligament. So, take rest and avoid walking too much in the beginning. If you overdo it, it can result in reinjury, swelling, pain, and even arthritis.


How long should you avoid walking due to a sprained ankle?

It depends on the severity of ligament damage:
- No tearing - 1 to 3 weeks.
- Partial tear - 3 to 6 weeks.
- Full tear - A few months.


Is it possible to sprain the top of your foot?

Yes, it is possible. The upper or top part of the foot can also get sprained if you drop something on it. The other causes for pain in the top of the foot include fractures, tendinitis, arthritis, gout, etc.


Should you wrap a sprained ankle at night?

Wrapping a sprained ankle in an elastic bandage will stabilize the joint and promote healing. But make sure you do not wrap too tightly as it will reduce blood circulation to your foot and increase swelling. The best thing to do is wrap your ankle loosely and keep a pillow under the ankle to keep the leg raised.


How does a bruise heal?

Over time, a bruise changes color as it heals. The color of the bruise can show how old the injury is. It is reddish at the beginning, which then turns bluish or blackish in a couple of days. Until day 10, it turns greenish or yellowish, then to light brown and then fades away in about 2 weeks. The body breaks down the blood and absorbs it.


What can cause bruises without injury?

Bruises without injury or random bruising can be due to intense workout, anticoagulant medications (Heparin and Warfarin), vitamin C deficiency, diabetes, various bleeding or clotting disorders, and some types of cancer.

Last reviewed at:
10 Jun 2022  -  4 min read




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