How to treat bruises

Updated November 21, 2016

Bruises occur when the body is injured by blunt force. The underlying blood vessels tear and blood leaks to the surrounding tissue. Common causes of bruises include bumps and falls. Although unsightly, bruises are easily treatable. With proper care, bruises will heal with minimal pain and complications.

Rest the bruised area. This promotes healing by taking undue pressure from the bruised area and prevents further injury.

Apply ice packs to the bruised area. This will help keep the bruise from spreading. Alternate periods of ice application with equal periods of non-application to ensure the tissue does not become numb.

Use an elastic wrap to put pressure on the bruised area. This pressure helps to limit blood flow to the bruise.

Elevate the bruised area above heart level. This helps stop blood from gathering in the surrounding tissue.

Rub ointments containing Vitamin K on the bruised area. Vitamin K aides the body's blood absorption. Less blood in the area will reduce the size of the bruise.

Take acetaminophen for pain relief. This medicine will relieve the pain without affecting clotting.


Never apply ice directly to the skin. This can damage underlying skin and tissue. Avoid wrapping the bruised area too tightly. This will ensure that proper blood flow is maintained throughout the bruised area. Avoid using aspirin while the bruise is healing. Aspirin use will affect the clotting time of the bruised tissue. Avoid applying excessive heat to the bruise. This includes steam baths and hot packs.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice packs
  • Elastic bandage
  • Vitamin K ointment
  • Acetaminophen
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