Tips to Get a Bruise to Heal

May 13, 2024
Picture of a woman touching a bruise on her upper arm.

Do you have a bruise that just won’t seem to go away? Maybe you tripped and fell while jogging or banged your arm against a cabinet while making dinner. Or perhaps you developed bruising after having blood drawn or taking a certain medication. Whatever the case may be, waiting for a stubborn bruise to fade away can be frustrating. Below, we discuss how long bruises take to heal and offer tips for how to make a bruise go away faster. We also explain when you should seek medical care for a bruise.

How Long Do Bruises Last?

Bruises occur when a blood vessel breaks and causes blood to pool under the skin. The healing timeline can vary from person to person, but with that said, most bruises fade within two weeks, while more severe bruises may last for at least a month.

How to Get Your Bruise to Heal Faster

Luckily, there are steps you can take to treat your bruise at home. Here are some tips to get your bruise to heal more quickly:

  • For the first 48 hours after an injury, apply ice packs for up to 15 minutes each hour. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel or another piece of cloth to encourage blood flow and avoid issues like skin irritation and frostbite.
  • Once 48 hours have passed, apply a heating pad or warm compress to the bruise several times throughout the day.
  • Elevate the bruised area above your heart to minimize swelling and prevent blood from pooling.
  • Wrap an elastic bandage around the bruised area.
  • Apply a topical cream, ointment, or serum containing aloe vera, arnica, bromelain, comfrey, vitamin C, or vitamin K.
  • Get plenty of rest.

When to Seek Professional Treatment for a Bruise

Most bruises heal on their own, but in some cases, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional. You should reach out to your primary care physician (PCP) or an urgent care provider if:

  • Your bruise has lasted for more than two weeks.
  • You have painful swelling.
  • You’re still experiencing pain a few days after a seemingly mild injury.
  • You have signs of infection around your bruise (e.g., pus or streaks of redness).
  • You’re bleeding from your nose or gums.
  • You have a hematoma (a spongy, rubbery lump).
  • You sustained a black eye and you’re having trouble seeing.
  • You frequently experience large or unexplained bruises.
  • You keep developing bruises in the same location.

In rare cases, bruising can constitute a medical emergency. For example, if bruising causes excess pressure to build up around the muscles, it can lead to a dangerous condition known as compartment syndrome. Be sure to call 911 or get to a nearby hospital if you begin experiencing any life- or limb-threatening symptoms.

Walk-In Urgent Care for Bruises

If you need urgent care for a bruise and you’re in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or New York, you can get the treatment you require at PhysicianOne Urgent Care. We’re a physician-founded practice that’s been in business since 2008, and we’re pleased to treat patients of all ages. You can feel confident turning to us for bruise treatment because:

  • Our urgent care centers are open 365 days per year with extended hours, and we also offer a 24/7 integrated telehealth service.
  • Our providers are all trained in either emergency, family, or internal medicine.
  • We’re certified by the Urgent Care Association (UCA).
  • We’ve earned a reputation for providing professional, fast, and friendly urgent care and delivering an exceptional experience to every patient, every time.
  • We’re in-network with most major health insurance plans and offer affordable self-pay rates.

Click here to find the PhysicianOne Urgent Care center closest to you. You can walk in, book a visit online, or use our 24/7 integrated telehealth service to speak to a local provider remotely.

This was the fastest, easiest, and best doctor's visit. The provider was extremely kind and helpful. I explained my symptoms, the provider asked a few followup questions, and then she issued a script. I will absolutely be using this service again and would recommend to anyone.
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