How to Heal Bruises Faster

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Ice is the initial treatment for a bruise.
Ice is the initial treatment for a bruise. (Image: Tom Le Goff/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Bruises, which can result from a fall or an impact, can occur anywhere on the body and are actually pooled blood leaking from blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Bruises are black and blue, fading to yellow as they heal. To facilitate speedy healing, follow the guidelines below. The sooner you begin to treat a bruise, the sooner it will heal.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice
  • A heat source, such as a thermal pad
  • Pain relievers
  • Elastic bandage
  • Witch Hazel
  • Arnica

Apply ice or a cold pack to the bruise immediately. Ice reduces swelling, minimizing a bruise's duration, and also eases the pain of a bruise. Continue to apply ice three or more times a day, for 10 to 20 minutes, during the first 24 to 72 hours after injury. These guidelines are mandated by Healthwise via WebMD.

Elevate the bruised area to help reduce swelling, if possible keeping it above your heart. Elevating the injury employs gravity to reduce blood flow to the injury, which will help to reduce swelling. Protect and rest your bruise as much as possible to avoid further injury and to shorten healing time.

Take a pain reliever, preferably one with anti-inflammatory properties, for pain and swelling. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can be taken every four hours. The recommended dose for an adult is 400 mg. The most common side effect of pain killers is stomach upset, so take the medication with food and water to minimize this effect.

Apply a compression bandage to the area if you experience swelling, but do not wrap the bandage too tightly, which can cut off circulation and/or lead to more swelling. Lightly massage or rub the bruise to encourage blood flood, which speeds healing.

Apply heat once the swelling reduces, which usually happens between 48 and 72 hours. Heat helps to restore mobility to the area because it relaxes the tense muscles around the injured area.

Use natural medicine, such as witch hazel and arnica, which are recommended by WebMD. Witch hazel, which is derived from a plant of the same name, comes in liquid form and helps to heal damaged veins and to reduce swelling. Arnica, which is derived from a flower (Arnica Montana), can be used to help speed healing and is available as a liquid or gel. Arnica decreases swelling and pain and speeds healing.

Tips & Warnings

  • See your doctor if you have large, painful bruises; abnormal bruising or bleeding; your symptoms become worse; or if you develop new symptoms.

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