Bruises are painful nuisances and while most bruises fade and heal on their own, there are a few ways you can help reduce pain and improve your healing time. The four best bruise treatments include:
- An ice pack,
- Compression bandaging,
- A heat pack.
How Bruises Heal
When you fall or knock against a hard surface, the small blood vessels just under the surface of your skin (capillaries) burst and begin to leak red blood cells. This process is what causes a visible bruise.
As your body heals itself, the bruise will generally change colour as your body breaks down and absorbs the leaked blood cells. Bruises often start as red marks, quickly develop into a dark blue or black colour and eventually fade to a greenish yellow before disappearing.
When it comes to healing bruises, these are the four best ways to stop the pain and speed up your healing time:
1. Apply an ice pack:
Cold is best to apply as soon as you knock yourself. This is because it reduces swelling and slows down your blood flow which decreases the total amount of leaked blood. Apply an ice pack such as an Elastoplast Sport Hot/Cold Pack, for approximately 20 minutes, every hour for the first 48-72 hours.
2. Wrap the bruised area
Compression is another way to reduce swelling and a key step of the RICER technique. Wrap the bruised area gently but thoroughly, with a medium weight Elastoplast Crepe Bandage or an Elastoplast High-Stretch Compression Bandage for improved compression. Always apply your bandage on clean, dry skin and remember to check that the bandage is not too tight.
3. Elevate your bruise
If possible, keep your bruised area at the level of your heart, or higher. This will improve blood flow and minimise swelling of the injured area.
4. Apply a heat pack
After 72 hours, applying heat with the Elastoplast Sport Hot/Cold Pack will help to boost circulation and increase your blood flow. This will help your body absorb the trapped blood and heal the area. Heat can also help to loosen tense muscles and relieve pain.
Once you have followed these methods, it’s time to rest. Resting your bruised area will reduce the likelihood of you causing further damage and allow your body to focus on healing.
Bruise Healing Time
Your bruise will likely take about two weeks to fade away completely. But, before your bruise disappears, it will go through the following three stages:
1. Within one or two days the colour of the leaked blood changes to somewhere between blue, purple or black,
2. After another five to 10 days, your bruise will begin turning yellow,
3. 10 to 14 days later, it will turn light brown before it fades altogether.
Other Products to Use
There are a variety of home remedies you can also explore that could help to reduce pain, swelling and the appearance of your bruise, including:
- Arnica cream - This herbal cream contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can be absorbed through the skin.
- Vitamin K cream - Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and can help to reduce the appearance of a bruise.
- Vitamin C - like arnica, vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties that help the healing process. You can choose between applying vitamin C gels, creams and serums on your skin or taking a vitamin C supplement. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can also help to boost Vitamin C.
When to Contact your Doctor about a Bruise
Bruises may take a few weeks to fade but always make sure to keep an eye on how long it takes you to heal.
Bruises can sometimes be caused by a severe sprain or fracture. So, always see your doctor if your pain is excessive or your bruise shows any of the common signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth.