Bruise

  • 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.