Bruises can appear anywhere on the body and their location can be a clue to the underlying cause. Bruises appear as skin discoloration and are blue, black or a combination of the two. Damaged blood vessels from deep within the legs cause blood to rise to the surface and causes unexplained bruising.Bruises on legs can cause alarm when there has been no external physical injury or trauma. The dark patches on the skin may be caused by factors associated with existing or preexisting health conditions.
What is Bruises?
A bruise is a common skin injury that results in a discoloration of the skin.
Symptom of Bruises
- Initially, a fresh bruise may actually be reddish. It will then turn blue or dark purple within a few hours, then yellow or green after a few days as it heals.
- A bruise is commonly tender, and sometimes even painful for the first few days, but the pain usually goes away as the color fades.
- If the skin is not broken in a bruise, there is no risk of infection.
What may causes Bruises on Legs?
People who have a history of bleeding more than normal during medical procedures and women who get heavy periods may notice they get unexplained bruising on legs and fatigue easily as well.
Prescription and over-the-counter medications and nutrition supplements can make you bruise more easily. Some medications and supplements associated with bruising include:
- NSAIDs (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen) anticoagulant medications and anti-platelet agents reduce your blood’s ability to clot.
- Antibiotics might also be associated with clotting problems. As a result, bleeding from capillary damage might take longer than usual to stop which allows enough blood to leak out to cause a bigger bruise.
- Blood thinners
- Some steroids: Topical and systemic corticosteroidswhich can be used to treat various conditions, including allergies, asthma and eczema cause your skin to thin, making it easier to bruise.
- Vitamin E
- Fish oil
Physical Activity or Injuries
Seemingly minor injuries can result in bruising and contusions. Strenuous physical activity can result in damage to small blood vessels. The blood then leaks out and a bruise forms.
The sun’s UV radiation damages skin and blood vessels and results in bruising, particularly in elderly people.
Tissues, particularly the connective tissues, weaken with age and even minor insignificant trauma can result in bruises appearing.
Vitamins are cofactors in a variety of body processes and deficiencies in vitamins B12, C, K and folic acid can result in tissue or blood vessel weakness resulting in unexplained bruising on legs.
- Vitamin K: It helps blood to clot and is an essential component of bone structure. Deficiency of this vitamin affects normal blood clotting, thus causing bruising.
- Vitamin C: It is essential for synthesis of collagen and other compounds that help the skin and blood vessels to withstand the impacts that lead to bruises. Therefore, deficiency of vitamin C can lead to poor healing and bruises.
- Minerals: Zinc and iron are essential minerals that help wound healing. In addition, iron deficiency results in anemia, a known cause for constant bruising.
- Bioflavonoids: Citrine, rutin, catechin and quercetin are some bioflavonoids that are extremely valuable in correcting a tendency toward bruising.
Reduced Body Fat
Body fat is the body’s own natural cushioning system. Thin people or people on a quick weight loss plan are more prone to bruises for this reason.
Long-standing diabetes results in vascular disease and can cause easy bruising. Acanthosis nigricans is a dark bruise-like discoloration of the skin over body folds and around the neck. Many feel that the presence of this discoloration is a warning sign of impending diabetes developing.
A variety of blood related diseases and conditions can cause excessive bruising. Examples include:
- hemophilia: Hemophilia is the opposite process of thrombophilia. In people with hemophilia, there is an increased tendency to bleed because of abnormality of blood clotting factor that does not allow the formation of clots. Unexplained and excessive bleeding or bruising is one of the symptoms of hemophilia.
- Hodgkin’s disease,
- platelet dysfunction: A low platelet count due to bleeding disorders such as thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (TTP) or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) can also affect the body’s ability to form blood clots normally, increasing the chances of bruising.
Von Willebrand Disease
Von Willebrand disease is an inherited bleeding disorder that affects your blood’s ability to clot, resulting in heavy, hard-to-stop bleeding after an injury.person suffering from this disease is likely to develop frequent, large bruises following minor bumps or injuries.
Blood Cancers (Leukemia)
Blood cancers can cause either an excess of deficiency of certain blood cells that function poorly and can result in excessive bruising, fatigue, weight loss and weakness. Any suspicion of these types of diseases requires prompt medical attention as they can be deadly.
An overactive thyroid causes global changes in the body’s physiology. Persons with Graves’ disease will lose weight, develop thin and easily bruised skin and loose hair. Further changes to the small capillary blood vessels in the skin result in easy bruising.
Sepsis is a serious infection and bruising can occur due to dysfunction of the clotting system.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a connective tissue problem and bruising can be seen due to weakness of connective tissue.Bruising in this case occurs because the capillaries and blood vessels surrounding the connective tissues become fragile and break easily.
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause bruising as well as joint pain.
Apart from causing bruising in various areas of your body, medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis cause random bruising
Vasculitis is inflammation of the blood vessels and one of its symptoms is bruising.
Bruises on Legs Treatment
- A cold compress such as an ice pack should be applied to the affected area for 20-30 minutes in order to speed healing and reduce swelling.
- Vinegar may be used to promote blood flow to the skin’s surface to gather the collected blood. Combine with warm water.
- If the bruise takes up a large area of the leg or foot, the leg should be kept elevated as much as possible during the first 24 hours after the injury.
- Acetaminophen may be taken for pain as instructed on the bottle. Avoid aspirin or ibuprofen because they slow the blood from clotting and may, in fact, prolong the bleeding.
- use anti-inflammatory drugs aids in lowering the swelling that accompanies the bruises.
- After about 48 hours, heat in the form of a warm washcloth applied to the bruise for 10 minutes or so two to three times a day may increase blood flow to the bruised area, allowing the skin to reabsorb the blood more quickly.
When You Should Worry about Your Bruises?
random bruising on legs that don’t hurt usually isn’t a serious problem, but it is recommended to calling your health care provider if any of these descriptions apply to your bruises:
- You have systemic symptoms like fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes or unintentional weight loss along with unexplained bruising.
- Bruises are getting larger with time. The bruise may be a hematoma that could continue to bleed if you take blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder.
- You notice a lot more bruises than normal or bruises in unusual places. Bruises on your back, abdomen and upper thighs may be concerning because most people don’t frequently bump those body parts. Bleeding into the joints that causes swelling or bruising may be a sign of a bleeding disorder.
- You are experiencing abnormally heavy menstrual periods
- Bruising occurs along with other bleeding. Bruising accompanied by frequent nosebleeds that are hard to stop or blood in the urine or stool should be investigated.
- Bruises look like big purple spots with clear edges, and you’re younger than 65. These spots, called purpura, are common in older adults but may be a sign of inflamed blood vessels in younger people.
- Bruises look like tiny dots. These bruises are called petechiae and appear when tiny blood vessels called capillaries break. They also can appear on the lower legs and may be an early sign of problems with platelets, the blood cells involved in clotting. If you haven’t had a recent straining event, bruises on legs for no reason may indicate a more serious medical condition.
How to Prevent Bruises On Legs
- Wear protective gear (like shin guards) while playing contact sports such a soccer.
- Place furniture away from doorways and common walking paths within your home.
- Keep phone and electrical cords away from open areas where you may trip and fall.
- Be sure floors are kept dry and that rugs are slip resistant.
- Keep floors free of clutter.
- Plug in a small night light or use a flashlight if you need to walk to the bathroom during the night.
- If your doctor has prescribed blood-thinning drugs, be sure to have regular monitoring and adjust medications as necessary.
- Keep rugs secure to prevent slipping and falls
- Increase your intake of vitamin C with citrus fruit and peppers.
- Consume sufficient flavonoids, found in plant-based foods, to help absorb vitamin C.
- Avoid vitamin K deficiency by eating Brussel’s sprouts, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables.
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