Colors After Bodily Trauma
Logan Elizabeth Hardy
What actually constitutes a bruise (contusion)? How much stress on the body can cause a bruise? How long is recovery time?
I have always wondered about the above questions since I was a little girl. Everyone remembers when she was young and would fall down and scrap her knee. Of course Mom or Dad would kiss it and make it better, but a couple days later a big bruise would show up. When we were younger we thought nothing of it, but now bruises are something to pay attention to after an injury. They can tell you the severity of the injury, the approximate time it occurred and the recovery time.
A bruise or contusion is discoloration and tenderness of the skin or mucous membrane due to leakage of blood from an injured blood vessel into the tissue. Contusions usually heal with in two to three weeks. Depending on the person the recovery time can be more or less. There is a coagulation test that can be issued if a person bruises easily to test how easily her blood colts.
In some cases, the bruise can actually spread downward; this is caused by gravity pulling the clotted blood as far down the to ground as possible. The location of the bruise can tell a lot about the injury sustained. It is common to have a bruise on the outer extremities of the body. Any bruises located on the arms or legs take much longer to heal because the limbs are used much more than other parts of the body. Because of their more frequent use, blood flows to them much more, making it hard for the body to absorb the blood from the wound.
Bruising or severe discoloration that occurs within thirty minutes of the injury is an indicator that a sprain or fracture has occurred. In older patients, bruising may occur much more quickly and discoloration may seem more severe. This is because blood vessels and skin tenderness change and become more fragile with age.
Bruises occur differently in different types of tissue or membrane. If an injury occurs in a loose or soft tissue area, e.g., eyes or genitalia, the discoloration and tenderness will come about much faster than a normal bruise. If the injury happens to a tighter tissue area, e.g., back, thighs and calves, the bruises will show up later. Bruises that are deeper or that are sustained with broken bones will take longer to show up as well due to the excessive amount of trauma.
This table shows the typical time it take for a moderate bruise to heal. Some colors can be present for the entire healing process, but will eventually fall in line with the table.
|Day injury was sustained - Two days||Reddish color from the blood pooling under skin (red is a sign of acute injury and may be present until bruise heals completely)|
|Three-Four days||Red blood cells begins to break down and bruise will darken to a blue-purplish color|
|Five-Six days||The color fades into a light green|
|Seven-Nine days||Skin over bruised area will have brown-yellowish appearance. Will diminish back to normal skin tone once all blood is absorbed.|
There are different kinds of bruises that occur from more severe incidents. These contusions take longer to heal and need to be watched more carefully than a moderate bruise.
Hematoma: Where blood collects and pools after a severe injury. This is a much deeper bruise that will give the skin a spongy, rubbery or lump like feel during and after healing.
Purpura and Petechiae: Petechiae are minute hemorrhages into the skin. Purpura bruises are larger areas of bleeding into the skin that begin as red areas that become purple and later brownish-yellow.
Ecchymoses: are blotchy areas of hemorrhage in the skin, which are larger than purpura and mostly appear with coagulation disorder.
Picture of moderate bruise four to five days into recovery period.
Severe bruise with covering large area of leg. Far along in recovery time.
Large bruise occurring in tight tissue area. Picture taken fairly soon after injury.
Severe case of Ecchymoses.
Bruises are an everyday occurrence and are usually over looked. Contusions can be related to serious blood problems, health conditions, or they can help tell a story about how the bruises got there. Next time you get a bruise, watch the different colors you skin will turn, and they will tell you about you recovery time.
Jurnell Cockhren for helping me with the computer
Julie Adams for showing me her recovery time
Victor Evans for the idea