Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Bruises (Contusions)
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:
May 27, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.