What causes the bruising of the skin

What to do if you have a bruise

First aid for bruises

One carelessness, one quick movement - and it happened. You push or squeeze! The result is often a bruise, colloquially known as a "bruise".

Causes of Bruising: How a Hematoma Forms

In the case of a bruise (hematoma), blood flows from injured blood vessels into the surrounding soft tissue and accumulates there. Hematomas that are close to the surface of the skin show discoloration of the skin after a short time. If the injury is deeper, the external signs are less. Often times, in addition to the discoloration, the affected area swells and is painful. Quick wound care effectively accelerates the healing process.

Common causes of bruising include Accidents and Sports injuries. The vibrations damage the blood vessels, so that the blood escapes and flows into the surrounding tissue or into a body cavity.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Boxing, America Football, snowboarding, soccer, and basketball are among the top 5 most injured sports in Washington D.C.

Also blood thinning medicines such as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) can sometimes cause bruises as they inhibit blood clotting and thus promote bleeding.

In addition, people can participate in a congenital bleeding disorder Suffer. In the Hemophilia bruises develop particularly quickly in those affected. But also with Willebrand-Juergens Syndrome as well as various diseases of the liver or blood-forming organs, hematomas quickly develop.

Symptoms of a bruise

Is the Bruise just below the surface of the skin, the skin initially turns red. This does not happen immediately after the injury, but only some time afterwards. In addition to the discoloration of the skin, swelling may develop. The affected area hurts. After a few days the color turns into a deep dark blue. This is due to the biochemical breakdown of the blood. Eventually the bruise will fade away. It turns green and then yellow.

Bruising under the toenails or fingernails takes a long time. The accumulation of blood between the nail and tissue presses strongly and only slowly pushes upwards with the growing nail. It takes several weeks for the blue-black area to disappear.

Deeper hematomas are usually not visible from the outside, but are painful because the swelling that occurs compresses pain receptors or presses against bones, tendons or muscles.

Special forms of bruise

As mentioned above, blood can seep into the tissue or collect in a cavity. Bruises in the joint, chest or head are possible. Some of these bruises have special names:

  • Hemarthrosis: Accumulation of blood in a joint (Greek. arthrosis)
  • Hemothorax: Accumulation of blood in the chest (Greek. thorax)
  • epidural hematoma: Accumulation of blood between the meninges and the periosteum of the skull bone
  • subduralHematoma: Accumulation of blood between the hard meninges and the spider web skin
  • intracerebralHematoma = Bruise within the brain matter

Accumulations of blood in the brain are particularly dangerous because the leaked blood presses on the brain. If left untreated, the patient can die. Other internal bruises can also be dangerous: If tissue dies as a result of the application of pressure, for example preparing the ground for infections. Indications for this are circulatory weakness, abdominal pain and headache as well as impaired consciousness. Therefore, a serious fall should not be taken lightly and should be examined by a doctor.

Treating bruises: tips for bruising

A simple bruise does not require great treatment from the doctor. The person concerned can do it treat yourself.

Tip 1 against bruising: Immediate measures to take care of the injury


Stand still

Avoid excessive movement, otherwise the muscles will continue to be well supplied with blood and the bruising may intensify.



Cooling is the best way to avoid bruising. Cool the affected area as soon as possible, as this will cause the blood vessels to contract and less blood to leak into the tissue. Instant cold compresses are an inexpensive variant and are ideal for cooling a larger area. You can also do it with Cold gels, cold sprays or one Ice pack to attempt.

Our product tips - means for cooling bruises, sprains and strains:Instant cold compress 13 x 15 cm | ICE POWER Cold Spray | WEPA cooling gel


Never refrigerate directly to avoid frostbite. Always place a cloth between the skin and the ice.


Elevate the injured area. This will reduce blood flow to the injured area and prevent the injury from swelling excessively. The injury will then heal more quickly.


Tip 2 against bruises: promote the healing process for hematomas

A slight bruise should heal again after a short time without treatment. You can help your body heal if you have severe injuries or bruises that do not go away for a long time. For blunt injuries with bruises, for example, ointments with the active ingredient are suitable Heparin.

You can get very painful and swollen bruises with an additional protection Association cover.

Our product tips - remedies for bruises: Heparin ratiopharm® 60 000 ointment | Arnica BALM | HIRUDOID® Gel 300 mg / 100 g | Traumeel S Cream 100 g | Aluderm bandage pack

Tip 3 against bruises: See a doctor under certain circumstances

A lot of blood passes through you larger vascular tear life-threatening shock due to the high blood loss. If the bruise is excessively large, has spread or has accumulated bruises for no apparent reason or if the bruise has migrated, for example from the upper to the lower leg, a doctor should assess the problem.

If severe or persistent pain also occurs, accompanying injuries or complications such as fractures, joint injuries or infections should be considered. In the case of rapidly increasing pain, especially when moving, the bruise presses on the muscle or there is a break or ligament tear. Again, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

You should also consult a doctor in the event of major injuries to the head, genitals or a so-called “black eye”, especially if you have visual disturbances, swelling or open wounds.

Our pages are for your information only and are not a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by the doctor.

For information on risks and side effects, read the package insert and ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Despite careful research and the use of reliable sources, errors can sometimes creep into our texts. Help us improve. Send information to: [email protected]

As of: December 31, 2019

For reasons of better legibility, the male form is used in the text for personal names. It goes without saying, however, that the information relates to members of both sexes.