What to do in the event of bruising?
Minor blows can remain painful for a relatively long time, and even leave marks on our bodies if not properly treated. What are the methods, recommendations and treatments we should know about in order to ensure full recovery / or take better care of ourselves?
How to know the difference
In everyday language, the term “bruise” is used to refer to unattractive marks on the skin that appear as a result of a blow. The blood vessels under the skin have been damaged and consequently begin to bleed. However, not all bruises are the same.
- a haematoma is the equivalent of a “swelling”. This mass, which varies in volume depending on the circumstances, may sometimes appear after the blow. It is pooled blood that has escaped in an organ or muscle, for example.
- an ecchymosis on the other hand is slightly swollen or characterised by minor or no swelling, and is in contrast distinguished by its purplish-blue appearance which may then gradually change to various colours.
These traumas have been caused mostly by blows or violent impacts. However, there are other factors:
- women are particularly susceptible as their skin is more delicate and hormonal changes tend to highlight the fragile nature of the blood vessels.
- over-exposure to sun. UV rays penetrating the deeper layers of the skin will here again make the blood vessels fragile. When the vessels rise to the surface, this can create the impression of a burn.
- conditions such as anaemia or infectious diseases can interfere with coagulation. There is consequently an increased risk of the occurrence of contusions.
- The use of certain medicinal products can make our skin more vulnerable. Taking aspirin, anticoagulants, corticoids or anti-inflammatory drugs is also likely to prevent blood from coagulating properly.
- Finally, as we age, our bodies lose collagen and the skin becomes more fragile as a result. Blood vessels can therefore be more easily damaged.
When contusions occur, it is advisable to take action as quickly as possible. Here are a few tips:
- first, ice the impact area. By applying an ice pack you will ease the pain and prevent it from worsening.
- after cold, heat application is recommended, but only after two days. Covering the area with warm compresses allows the blood vessels to dilate and the circulation to improve. The procedure is to be repeated as often as possible, at intervals of at least 10 minutes.
- It is inadvisable to bandage the contusion. This will only increase pressure locally.
- avoid taking aspirin.
- taking vitamin C can help produce more collagen and promote strengthening of the blood tissues.
- although contusions are normally benign, if pain or symptoms persist, it is advisable to consult a doctor.