Bruises Information

Bruises Information

Many are extremely shocked to find out that a bruise isn’t always as simple as bumping a shin into a coffee table or hitting an arm on a door. Medically speaking, a bruise goes by many medical terms and is classified several different ways.

Commonly Used Medical Terms And Labels for Bruises And Contusions


Whatever term is used, bruises involve damaged or broken capillaries allowing blood to seep into surrounding skin, muscle, bone, or subcutaneous tissue.

For medical purposes, bruising is often labeled by size. Petechia, tiny reddish-purple dots on the skin, are less than 3 millimeters in diameter and are due to very small amounts of non-trauma related blood being released into surrounding tissue. Purpura, purplish flat blotching on the skin, are slightly larger than petechia, at 3 millimeters to 1 centimeter in diameter. And, ecchymosis describes a 1 to 3 centimeter in diameter bruise.

Bruises are also labeled by area of injury:

* Subcutaneous (beneath the skin)
* Intramuscular (within underlying muscle)
* Periosteal (bone bruise)

What Causes Bruises

As blood escapes distressed or broken capillaries, it seeps into surrounding tissues. The endothelium lining of the affected capillaries release endothin to narrow blood vessels and minimize bleeding. As the endothelium is destroyed, the von Willebrand factor initiates coagulation to clot the blood and help restore the tissue. During this healing process, the bruise usually changes color from red, blue or purple, green, brownish-yellow, and then finally back to normal as phagocytosis causes degradation of hemoglobin to biliverdin, bilverdin to bilirubin, and then bilirubin to hemosiderin.

The bruising process is most often the result of blunt force trauma, such from a fall, strike, or vehicle accident. However, there are many other factors that can increase the likelihood of bruising:

* Disease processes involving platelets malfunctioning or vascular disorders.
* Those with cirrhosis or hemophilia are often subject to extreme bruising.
* Aged skin is thinner and less elastic, characteristics that make a person more prone to bruising.
* Bruising is also affected by certain medications, mainly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, and cortisone medications.
* Unexplained bruising could be a warning sign of an underlying condition such as leukemia; meningococcal infection; internal bleeding; or vitamin C, K, B, or folic acid deficiency.
* Infection that causes toxins to accumulate (sepsis).

Harm Score Of Bruises/Contusions

In addition to the labeling described above, bruises are also classified on a scale of 0 to 5 in the harm score scale. The score represents the severity and danger of the contusion/bruise as it relates to skin tissue, bones, and organs.

Harm Score 0 - represents a light bruise without apparent damage
Harm Score 1 - represents a less than moderate bruise with little tissue damage
Harm Score 2 - represents a moderate bruise with some damage
Harm Score 3 - represents a serious and dangerous bruise
Harm Score 4 - represents an extremely serious and dangerous bruise
Harm Score 5 - represents a critical bruise with a risk of death

Symptoms of Bruises

Low-level bruising may result in some area tenderness or pain directly after the causative incident and as repairing takes place. The skin around the affected area may also be slightly swollen and go through the color changes described previously.

Upper-level scoring bruising may initially cause the above and include more dangerous and serious complications, such as compartment syndrome if the swelling cuts off blood flow to the affected tissues or severe bruising to internal organs as a bruising event causes shock waves to reach internal organs and bones. These symptoms depend on what organ or bone is affected by the bruising.

Acute Stage Treatment:


1. If your bruised area is red, swollen or inflamed, apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on the bruise to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the bruised area. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. While there is swelling and inflammation around your bruised area, massage the area with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.