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Bruises (contusions) occur when small blood vessels under the skin
tear or rupture, most often from a twist, bump, or fall. Blood leaks into
tissues under the skin and causes a black-and-blue color that often turns
colors, including purplish black, reddish blue, or yellowish green, as the
Most bruises are not serious and will go away on their own within 2
to 4 weeks. Sometimes, gravity causes them to spread down the body. A leg
bruise usually will take longer to heal than a bruise on the face or
Severe bruising, swelling, and pain that begin within 30 minutes of
an injury may mean a more serious injury, such as a severe sprain, dislocation,
Sudden unexplained bruising or a sudden increase in the frequency
of bruising may be a sign of an abnormal type of bruising that may be caused by
medicine side effects, a bleeding or clotting disorder, or a medical
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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