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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-02-19 (EDT)

A bruise, also called a contusion or ecchymosis, happens when part of the body is struck or bumps in to something and the muscle fibers and connective tissue underneath are crushed to the point that capillaries (small blood vessels) break and leak their contents without breaking the skin. Bruises typically occur at the level of the skin, but they can also occur at the level of a muscle or bone, depending on the severity of the impact.


Causes Injuries, Nutritional Deficiencies, Medical Interventions
See Also Dermatology / Skin Conditions, Anemia, Mineral deficiencies, Cirrhosis
Books Books on Skin Diseases
Articles Articles on Dermatology / Skin Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. The causing of bruising is typically falls, accidents and injuries yet other factors need to considered. The tendency to bruise easily can be associated with underlying conditions that need to be addressed.


  • Nutrient deficiencies are associated with an increased risk of easy bruising.


  • Activities
  • Athletes and those involved with organized sports may present with acute bruises.
  • Falls and injuries are the primary cause of bruises.

Medical Interventions

  • Medical Interventions
  • Significant bruising is common after surgical procedures whether they are simple or complicated.
  • Prescription Medications
  • Many prescription medications increase the risk of easy bleeding including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, aspirin, warfarin and others.
  • Corticosteroids may be implicated in easy bruising and other skin manifestations.[1]


  • Blood coagulation disorders, such as hemophilia can lead to easy bruising [2].

Diagnostic Testing

Related Symptoms and Conditions


Symptoms of a bruise include:

  • the area of the bruise is painful or tender to the touch
  • swelling
  • skin discoloration. A bruise begins as pinkish red color then it changes to a bluish color, then greenish yellow then finally back to normal skin color.
  • the bruised area, whether a muscle or a bone may be difficult to use while it is healing

Types of bruises:

  1. Subcutaneous bruise is just beneath the skin
  2. Intramuscular bruise is within the belly of the underlying muscle
  3. Periosteal bruise refers to a bruised bone

Other characteristics

  • During the healing phase the body needs to reabsorb the blood
  • The length of time that it takes a bruise to heal depends on the size and depth of the bruise, a person's underlying level of health, their age and other diseases or conditions.

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Bruises are typically an acute disease. The goal of naturopathic treatment is to speed healing time and to decrease a person's susceptibility to easy bruising.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Home Care

Home Care strategies include:

  • Exercising caution within ones environment is one way to prevent injury leading to bruising, especially in cases of bleeding disorders.
  • Wrap ice or frozen vegetables in a clean cloth and place on the area of the bruise for about 15 minutes each hour. Never place anything frozen directly on a bruise. The ice will help to decrease swelling and pain which will aid the speed of healing.
  • Elevate the area of the bruise to above the heart. This will prevent blood pooling in the area which can cause a serious condition referred to as compartment syndrome and it helps with the flow of blood back to the heart.
  • Rest the injured area until it is healed.


  • drain a bruise by breaking the skin with a needle or other instrument
  • continue running , playing or otherwise using the painful, bruised part of the body
  • ignore the pain or swelling


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Dietary recommendations
  • Consume a diet rich in bioflavonoids by increasing the intake of fresh berries, onions and citrus fruit.[3]
  • Address any underlying nutrient deficiencies.
  • Water. Ensure you drink adequate water.
  • Avoid exercising or moving an injured part of the body too much. This can impede the healing process.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for bruises include:

  • There are a number of homeopathic based creams that can be used topically to speed the healing time of bruises.


Most bruises will heal on their own, yet there are times when it is necessary to seek immediate medical care such as:[8]

  • If there is extreme pressure in a bruised part of your body, especially if the area is large or very painful. This may be due to a condition known as "compartment syndrome." Increased pressure on the soft tissues and structures beneath the skin can decrease the supply of blood and oxygen to the tissues. This is potentially life threatening and you should receive emergency care promptly.
  • The bruise occurred without any injury or fall, especially if you are prone to bruising for no known reason.
  • There are signs of infection around the bruised area including streaks of redness, pus or other drainage, or fever.


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [1]

  1. Tashkin DP, Murray HE, Skeans M, Murray RP (2004) Skin manifestations of inhaled corticosteroids in COPD patients: results from Lung Health Study II. Chest Journal;126(4):1123-1133 PMID:15486373.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lee AC (2008) Bruises, blood coagulation tests and the battered child syndrome Singapore Med J;49(6):445-450 PMID:18581014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Murray Michael (1996) Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, The Essential Guide for Improving Your Health Naturally Prima Publishing
  4. Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul Richard, Barlow Kerry, Gilbert Cyndi, Gowan Matthew, Smith Fraser (2010) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Vol 1: Botanical Medicine Monographs, CCNM Press, Toronto
  5. Boon Heather, Smith Michael (2004) The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to the 50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, Robert Rose, Toronto
  6. Hershoff Asa (2000) Homeopathic Remedies, A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and their Homeopathic Treatments, Avery Publishing Group, New York
  7. Ullman Robert, Reichenberg-Ullman Judyth (1997) Homeopathic Self-Care, the quick and easy guide for the whole family. Prima Publishing