A bruise is very common after any type of physical trauma. The word bruise, also called a contusion, is the general term used to describe discoloration from blood seen under the skin. Bruising is often the result of a blow to the skin with a blunt object. Bruising is often painful, but it does go away with proper rest. Severe bruises, however, can cause permanent tissue damage. Discuss your bruise with your physician if you feel that it is worse than a simple surface bruise.
Types of Bruises and Contusions
Bruises and contusions are caused by many things and can happen at any age. Any cut or blow to the skin may cause the tiny blood vessels called capillaries to burst. The resulting purple stain below the surface of the skin is what we normally refer to as bruising. Here are several examples of bruises, contusions, and hematomas:
- Subcutaneous Bruise
- Intradermal Bruise
- Deep Bruises or Contusions
Symptoms of Bruises, Contusions, Hematomas, and Hemorrhages
Light bruising may present as a simple bluish mark on your skin at or near the point of impact with a blunt object. Deeper bruising may cause swelling, pain, limited movement, and limited range of motion. The affected muscle may feel weak and stiff.
Swelling and bleeding beneath the skin may cause shock in severe bruising. A broken bone or dislocated joint may be present if the pain is very serious. You may also experience a sprain, torn muscle, or other injury if the contusion is very serious. Abdominal contusions may cause internal bleeding or damage internal organs.
A head injury can cause serious damage depending on the type of injury it is. It may tear or rupture blood vessels in the skull and cause a contusion, hematoma, or hemorrhage. A contusion occurs when the injury damages the blood vessels under the skin. They leak blood under the skin and cause a large purple lump or bruise. A brain contusion is similar except for the fact that the bruise is inside the skull and not visible.
A hematoma is a collection of blood within the body’s tissues. A bruise can be considered a type of hematoma. A hematoma on the brain is described based on how deep it is related to the three layers of the meninges; the dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater.
A hemorrhage is an actively bleeding blood vessel. Brain hemorrhages may be called a cerebral hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, or intra-axial hemorrhage. A hemorrhage in the brain is very dangerous because the blood collecting within the skull has nowhere to go and puts a lot of pressure on the brain. A brain hemorrhage may cause serious brain damage.
Causes of Bruises, Contusions, Hematomas, and Hemorrhages
- Trauma or Injury to a Blood Vessel: This is the most obvious cause of a hemorrhage. It may be caused by an aneurysm or a weak spot in the artery wall. Bleeding disorders may also cause a hemorrhage.
- Sprained Muscle: The force of the sprain may burst capillaries and result in bruising.
- Muscle Strains: Many athletes suffer from muscle strains if they don’t properly warm up before physical activity.
- Sports Injuries: Athletes risk bruising and other injuries on a regular basis. They may experience bruising if they’re hit with the ball, the bat, or taken down by another player.
- Vehicle Accidents: Vehicle accidents cause multi-point blows often resulting in bruised knees, elbows, shoulders, and more. You may even be bruised by the airbag in the event that it deploys.
- Slip and Fall Accidents: Signs that indicate “Wet Floor” were designed for good reason. Slippery floors can cause serious accidents for consumers.
- Domestic Violence: Missouri law enforcement agencies reported more than 41,000 incidents of domestic violence in 2012. Nearly 9,000 of these incidents were spousal abuse.
- Physical Altercations: Nearly 11,000 of the 41,000 incidents of domestic violence were between individuals who lived together; more than 7,000 incidents were between blood relatives; more than 5,000 involved couples with children.
- Seizures: Grand mal seizures include a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions that result in the body taking multiple blows as it hits the floor or nearby objects. Friends and family may be able to move the seizing person away from dangerous objects, but bruising is often inevitable.
- Animal Bite: Animal bites squeeze and often puncture the skin resulting in bruising and open wounds. Dogs are required to be on a leash in the city of St. Louis and in most counties.
- Human Bite: Human bites are most common among children, but there is the occasional occurrence of human bites in nursing homes, medical centers, and long-term care facilities. Human bites can be more dangerous than animal bites and should be addressed by a physician immediately.
Severity of Bruises and Contusions
- Light Bruise: Discoloration, but no tissue damage.
- Mild Bruise: Discoloration with some damage.
- Moderate Bruise: Moderate discoloration with tissue damage.
- Serious Bruise: Dark discoloration with serious tissue damage.
- Extremely Serious Bruise: Very dark discoloration, possibly broken bones, with serious tissue damage.
- Critical Bruise: Critical bruising, such as abdominal contusions and serious concussions, carry the risk of death.
Factors that Affect Bruises and Contusions
Many factors affect bruising, which is why some bruises appear much darker than others, and some people bruise more easily than others. Here are some of those factors:
- Tissue Type: Loose tissue such as that on the face and tissue that overlays bone show more bruising than other areas of the body. The face and the shin bone will show bruising before the palm or sole of the foot, for example.
- Trauma Severity: The more severe the trauma, the more bruising occurs. A slap to the face won’t likely cause a visible bruise, but a punch will likely cause a black eye.
- Age: The very young and the very old show bruising more easily than young adults. Infants have very loose skin and elderly people have lost a lot of skin elasticity.
- Gender: Women tend to bruise more easily than men of the same age.
- Overall Health: People with high blood pressure bruise more easily than those with normal blood pressure. Other blood diseases can cause more severe bruising as well.
Diagnosis of Bruises, Contusions, and Hematomas
Visit your doctor right away for a physical examination to determine the location and extent of the injury causing the bruising. Your physician may need to use an MRI, ultrasound, or CT scan to see the injured area more clearly. They may even need to check for nerve injury if they feel that nerves are at risk due to the bruise.
Receiving Compensation for Bruises, Contusions, and Hematomas
The Dixon Injury Firm understands that bruises and contusions can have an impact on your quality of life. The pain you feel prevents you from participating in your normal daily activities as you normally would without reservation. Your bruises or contusions may require several weeks to fully heal depending on the severity of the injury and deep bruises may require scar revision surgery to correct
Bruises, contusions, and hematomas can happen to anyone at any time. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and allow them to make the proper diagnosis based on your individual symptoms. The insurance company may downplay the injury and indicate that it is just a bruise, it will heal quickly. Your doctor can confirm the presence of contusions or muscle damage and the need for future care.
The Dixon Injury Firm can help you gather the evidence you need to get the compensation you deserve. These injuries can be more serious than a simple surface bruise, so do not let the insurance company tell you otherwise. Call The Dixon Injury Firm at 314-409-7060 for a FREE CONSULTATION.