In a busy world bumps and knocks happen often. Bruises form when blood vessels break under the skin and leak blood into the tissue that surrounds them. This blood pooling under the skin creates a black, purple or blue color that changes to a greenish or yellowish hue as it heals. Fortunately there are ways you can help bruises heal more quickly, and make them less noticeable. Elevating the bruised area above your heart, icing the injury immediately after it occurs and avoiding massaging the bruise can all reduce how severe and how long a bruise lasts.
Icing a bruise immediately after an injury constricts the blood vessels and helps minimize bleeding until your body has the chance to clear away the broken blood vessels that caused the bruise. You can use a reusable ice pack, a bag of frozen vegetables or even a frozen Ziploc bag wrapped in a cloth or towel to apply the ice. Aim for 10-minute on, 20-minute off intervals and reapply as needed.
Keeping up with your vitamin K intake may also reduce bruising. This important nutrient helps your body clot properly and prevents it from bleeding too much. Some food sources of vitamin K include leafy green vegetables, kale and broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, swiss chard and spinach. You can also find it in certain fruits, including pineapple and berries, and in supplements.
If you bruise easily and don’t understand why, see your healthcare provider for a checkup. Frequent bruising may be a sign of a blood-clotting disorder or of another serious medical issue, like cancer.