How to heal a bruise is a common concern in online health forums. In this article we’ll not only explain how long it typically takes for a bruise to heal but also break down numerous measures that you can take to fasten the healing process. We have also briefly broken down the stages of bruise healing.
Table of Contents
- How Long Do Bruises Take to Heal?
- How to Heal a Bruise Fast, Quickly in a Day
- How to Heal a Bone Bruise
- How to Heal a Deep Bruise
- How to Heal a Bruised Eye
- How to Heal a Bruised Finger
- Stages of Bruise Healing
- How to Speed Up Healing of Bruises
How Long Do Bruises Take to Heal?
Before we answer the question “how long does bruises take to heal?”, let us start by clarifying that we will be talking about to bruises involving the soft tissues as opposed to bone bruises or bruised bones if you like.
So, how long do bruises take to heal? Bruises typically take 2 to 4 weeks to heal. As a bruise heals blood is reabsorbed into the body. Healing is accompanied by a change to various colors ranging from purplish black to reddish blue and yellowish green as the WebMD website says.
Exactly how long the bruise takes to heal will vary depending on the severity of bruising. Bruises on legs also to take generally longer than those sustained on other parts of the body including arms and face.
How to Heal a Bruise Fast, Quickly in a Day
If you will be attending an important event in a few days but are concerned about a bruise you sustained a few days or weeks ago, you may be left wondering how to heal a bruise fast or quickly, preferably in a day as one of our readers recently wanted to know.
Well there may not be an intervention to heal a bruise in just a day but there are various measures that you can undertake to not only speed up the healing process which typically takes between 2 and 4 weeks, but also alleviate symptoms such as pain and swelling.
Cold treatment or cold compress
Icing is the first course of action in aiding fast healing of a bruise and minimizing swelling. It should be done as soon as possible and continued for the first 48 hours about 3 times every day.
You may us one of those commercial ice packs designed for use on injuries or simply wrap some ice cubes (or iced peas) in a small towel before applying it on the affected area of skin for 10 minutes.
Heat treatment or warm compress
After 48 hours of cold treatment, you should then apply heat to the affected area of skin using warm compress to help to speed up the healing process. This is as simple as dipping a small towel in a basin of warm water, wringing out excess water, and finally applying it gently on the skin.
Heat boosts circulation and aids in reabsorption of leaked blood. You can as well use an electric heating pad for this purpose, but ensure you follow the instructions to the letter to avoid burns.
Elevation and rest
In case of bruises involving the limbs i.e. arms and legs, keeping them elevated can help them heal fast. Try to keep the affected area of skin as much high above the heart as possible.
the pain usually associated with bruises responds well to treatment with anti-inflammatory medicines. Acetaminophen remains the most suitable option for relieve of pain and discomfort caused by bruising. It is usually available in most local drugstores (chemists) as Tylenol.
Keep in mind though that Non-steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSADs) such as ibuprofen (commonly known as Advil or Motrin) and aspirin may actually worsen your symptoms rather than worsen them. In fact prolonged use of aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs is one of the common causes of bruising easily.
Enrich your diet with vitamin C and K
Vitamin C helps to strengthen the blood vessels in your skin by aiding in the buildup of supportive fibers called collagen. Some foods rich in vitamin C are citrus fruits e.g. passion and green leafy vegetables.
As for vitamin K, it is needed in the body for proper clotting of blood. You can always look for a vitamin K cream or supplements in your local drugstore, otherwise, taking foods rich in vitamin K such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and green leafy vegetables can as well help.
Some dietary supplements are also known to aid the healing of bruises including:
- Bromelain – An enzyme derived from pineapples. Taking 250-500 mg of bromelain every day (between meals) until bruising has faded helps to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Arnica – a homeopathic version of this herbal remedy also helps with healing of bruises. Most experts suggest taking 4 doses the first day and then reducing that to 2-3 pills thereafter until the bruise fades away.
How to Heal a Bone Bruise
A bruised bone can be terribly painful. But how do you deal with it? How do you heal a bone bruise? Bone bruises usually involve the…and are the result of trauma or injury to the connective tissues that support the bones. They can be caused by car accidents, sports injuries, assault, and any other factor that deals a traumatic blow to the affected part of the body:
Here is how to heal a bone bruise or rib contusions, knee injuries etc:
Rest: it is advisable to take lots of rest to avoid exerting undue pressure on the bruised bone which would then aggravate the problem and prolong the healing time.
Pain relieving medications: Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or any other painkilling medication to reduce pain and swelling
Icing: Place ice cubes wrapped in a small towel on the bruised area and allow it to stay on for 10 minutes 3 times each day to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Support: Use braces to provide extra support to the injured tissues and reduce the pressure exerted on them. This helps to relieve pain and promote faster healing.
Supplements: Take Bromelain supplements to aid in the healing of the bruising. Bromelain is a digestive enzymederived from pineapple and helps in digestion of the proteins responsible for pain and inflammation. Take 250 to 500 mg every day between meals until you have recovered from the bruises.
Avoid smoking: This causes poor circulation of blood and thus poor nutrient intake which then means longer healing time for the bruises.
Watch your diet: Nutrition plays a key role in facilitating the healing of bruises. So, eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. You will especially want to include citrus fruits, guavas, cherries, spinach, carrots, broccoli, and cabbages in your diet.
Micro current therapy: Your doctor may decide to use a procedure known as micro current therapy to aid the healing of the bone bruise. This involves using a small electric current to repair damaged tissues and thus reduce swelling and pain caused by bruising while promoting faster healing.
How to Heal a Deep Bruise
As for those asking how to heal a deep bruise, it is first of all a good idea to have an X-ray don to ascertain that there is no fractures involved.
As for treatment options, Andrew Weil, MD, the director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, recommends taking 200 to 400 mg of bromelain 3 times every day until your bruises heal.
This pineapple enzyme helps your body to eliminate (through digestion) the metabolic wastes caused by injuries; these are responsible for pain and swelling associated with bruising.
Weil recommends taking the capsules on an empty stomach; at least one and a half hours before or 3 hours after eating.
You will as well want to integrate several of the numerous options discussed previously in this guide in to your treatment regime including taking painkillers, icing, having adequate rest, and providing support with braces to relieve pressure on the affected area of the body.
If symptoms however persist for more than a few days even with these intervention measures or seem to be worsening off, then you should seek medical attention right away.
How to Heal a Bruised Eye
And if you are wondering how to heal a bruised eye after a confrontation left your face with everything to show for it, then your best bet is a cold compress. Here’s how to heal a bruised eye with a cold compress.
Simply place an ice pack or some ice cubes wrapped with a small towel on the bruised eye for 10 minutes several times a day and the swelling and bleeding (resulting in the discoloration) will go away in no time. As the blood vessels underneath the skin constrict from the cold compress, the bleeding involved also stops
For pain, your safest bet is to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (commonly available as Tylenol).
You should however seek medical attention if:
- Symptoms worsen or do not seem to have improved after a few days
- Your eyeball is also damaged
- The bruising affects your vision
How to Heal a Bruised Finger
Bruises occur on fingers when a traumatic incident e.g. when someone gets involved in a car accident, accidentally hits himself with a tool e.g. hammer, bumps into a hard surface etc. causes an injury that result in bleeding in the soft tissues below the skin without a cut or abrasion on the surface.
Here is how to heal a bruised finger:
- Pat the finger gently with an ice pack, or ice cubes that have been wrapped in a small cloth (frozen peas will do just fine) for 20 minutes every now and then, 3 times a day at the very least.
- Avoiding strenuous activity that involves the finger to prevent exerting undue pressure on it
- Keep the finger elevated to promote blood flow and faster absorption of the pooled blood
- Taping the finger to the adjacent one can as well help to reduce mobility and promote healing
- Take OTC medications e.g. acetaminophen to relieve pain.
Stages of Bruise Healing
There are various stages of bruising all of which are characterized by a different look in as far as coloration is concerned. Understanding this different stages of bruising is critical to determining how old a bruise is and how close to full healing it really is.
At the onset a bruise usually appears pinkish or red in color and feels tender to touch. This color is attributed to the presence of the blood that leaked from capillaries beneath the surface of the skin.
Within a few hours, the bruise then takes a blue or purple color. The color change is attributed to lack of enough oxygen in the site of bruising, usually as a result of the swelling which cuts of supply of oxygen; this causes a change in the color of hemoglobin – the iron rich protein that carries oxygen in your blood.
In a few days, the bruise will then turn to different colors as a result of biochemical breakdown of hemoglobin. As different components of blood are broken down and reabsorbed into the body, different colors will result including green, dark yellow, and finally pale yellow or brown (in final stage of breakdown of hemoglobin).
How to Speed Up Healing of Bruises
One of our esteemed readers recently sent us an email asking, “I am 19 years old and rather clumsy. About that part I agree. A few days I bumped into our living room table when playing with my younger brother. I got some bruises on the abdomen but although they are healing, I was wondering if you have tips to help me heal it faster?”
Well, most bruises are not a cause for concern and will heal away within a few days or weeks. You can however take several home care measures to speed up healing and relief of symptoms. Here are a few tips to help you speed up healing of bruises:
- Avoid smoking
- Eat healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Include foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, peppers, leafy green veggies etc.), flavonoids (carrots, apricots, guavas), and vitamin K (broccoli, leafy green vegetables, and Brussels sprouts etc.).
- Take bromelain supplements
- Apply ice compresses in the first 48 hours followed by warm compresses thereafter as outlined previously in this guide
- Apply arnica gel on the bruises to dilate blood vessels, promote circulation and thus promote healing
- Avoid taking aspirin and anti-coagulant medications such as warfarin as these discourage clotting of blood
- Rest as much as possible and avoid too much activity that involve the affected area to prevent placing undue pressure on it
- Keep the affected area elevatedwhenever possible to promote blood circulation and reabsorption of leaked blood back into the body