Monday, October 20, 2014

Table of Contents

Alternative Names

Contusion; Hematoma


Definition

A bruise is an area of skin discoloration. A bruise occurs when small blood vessels break and leak their contents into the soft tissue beneath the skin.


Considerations

There are three types of bruises:

  1. Subcutaneous -- beneath the skin
  2. Intramuscular -- within the belly of the underlying muscle
  3. Periosteal -- bone bruise

Bruises can last from days to months, with the bone bruise being the most severe and painful.


Causes

Bruises are often caused by falls, sports injuries, car accidents, or blows received by other people or objects.

If you take a blood thinner, like aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin), you are likely to bruise more easily.



Review Date: 05/01/2011
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)