How are bruises treated?

Treatment of a bruise depends on what caused it. Bruises due to minor injuries or accidents will often disappear on their own after a few weeks. During the healing process, the bruise may change color, turning from red or dark purple, to yellow, brown, or green, before fading away.

Here are some things you can do to treat a bruise:

  • Apply an ice pack during the first 24 to 48 hours after the bruise develops. The ice pack should be removed after 15 minutes. Prevent direct contact between the ice pack and the injured area by placing a towel or cloth between the ice pack and the skin.
  • Rest and raise an injured limb to help reduce pain and swelling.
  • After 2 days, begin applying a heat pack or cloth soaked in warm water to the injured area several times each day.
  • Take acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain medication, to relieve pain or discomfort.

Bruises that do not go away after a few weeks or come back without any apparent cause may need medical attention.

If you think that you have a broken bone or fracture, see your doctor immediately or visit the emergency room.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/27/2017.

References

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