As an Adult, When Should I Worry About Bruises?

A close-up of the gloved hand of a doctor checking a bruise on a young woman's wrist.

Although generally not thought of as alarming or urgent, bruising may require urgent care treatment. As an adult, it is important to know when a bruise is nothing more than a mild and slightly painful inconvenience and when it could be telling of something more, like a serious, undiagnosed medical condition.

Whether you’re living with an urgent medical emergency that has caused bruising or currently have an unusual, new bruise that is causing you pain and distress, we are here to help you by providing a comprehensive diagnosis and getting you the treatment you need seven days a week.

Let’s discuss when you should worry about bruises in adults.

What is a bruise?

In simplest terms, a bruise is a common skin injury resulting in skin discoloration. It can appear on any part of the body but is most commonly found on the arms and legs.

Bruises are caused by a direct injury caused by an object, animal or person. After impact, blood vessels are damaged, causing blood to collect near the skin’s surface, resulting in the black and blue mark you notice.

Bruising is referred to medically as ecchymosis.


The most common symptom of a bruise is skin discoloration. Initially, a bruise can give off a reddish hue. After a few hours, bruises turn dark blue or black and change color throughout the healing process until they entirely disappear.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness

Because symptoms are minimal for most patients, common bruises can be treated at home using ice packs, elevation and rest.

What causes bruising?

 Bruising is most often caused by blunt force trauma or minor accidents affecting a specific area of the body.

Other less common causes include:

  • Heavy weightlifting
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Thinning skin
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Medications

On occasion, most of us get bruises from bumping into something or something bumping into us. If you find yourself bruising easily or getting bruises that don’t tie into any injury or cause, it may be time to seek medical evaluation.

What underlying conditions could cause easy bruising?

Although bruising is typically not something to worry about or seek treatment for, there may be instances where medical attention is needed, especially if you bruise easily or frequently.

Outside of a direct impact to the skin, some other health conditions can cause bruising, such as:

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Vitamin K deficiency
  • Blood disorders such as Von Willebrand Disease, hemophilia, blood clotting disorders or platelet function defects
  • Malnutrition
  • Severe alcohol abuse
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
  • Leukemia
  • Cirrhosis
  • Aplastic anemia

It is important to note that aside from underlying health conditions, bruising may be a sign of domestic violence, elder abuse or child abuse. If you believe someone you love is experiencing abuse, contact your local public safety officials for further assistance.

When should I visit urgent care for a bruise?

If you believe that your bruise is due to an underlying health condition or you’re experiencing intense pain, swelling, or easy bruising, you should be seen for further medical evaluation, especially if you bruise easily or frequently.

We are open every day of the year; simply walk in to receive treatment for your bruises today.

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