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Bruises, medically known as contusions, generally result from a fall or mild injury and produce a blue or reddish patch on the surface of the skin. Underneath the surface, damaged tissue, muscle fibers or pooling blood are creating the bruise.

Of course, bruises vary in severity and seriousness. While most bruises do not need treatment, there are certain instances where you’ll want to treat the bruise or even seek medical attention for the bruise.

Causes of Bruises

Most of the time, a bruise is due to a fall or injury. As long as it's not particularly dark, painful or accompanied by other worrying symptoms, it can be treated at home with rest and the application of ice if needed. Some severe bruises, however, may be accompanied by a lump caused by blood pooling under the skin. This is known as a hematoma and may warrant being checked out by a doctor.

Bruises can be a warning sign for other conditions, as well. A person who bruises very easily or has bruises on the knuckles or under the eyes, for example, may be showing the warning signs of malnutrition or an eating disorder. Suspicious bruising or a lot of bruises on certain parts of the body, such as the face, may indicate that the person is being abused.

Treatment of Bruises

In most cases, dealing with bruises is largely an issue of common sense. Minor bruises need no treatment at all, while slightly larger ones can usually be managed at home with rest, over-the-counter pain relievers and the application of ice. If a bruise is large, a nasty color, accompanied by a bump from pooling blood or accompanied by other severe injuries, seek medical care.

SOURCES: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; National Criminal Justice Reference Service, U.S. Department of Justice

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