by Amy Scholten, MPH
A contusion is when blood vessels are damaged or broken after an injury. Blood and fluid then leak from the injured blood vessels into the tissue. This results in a discolored, purplish area in the skin. It takes 2 to 3 weeks to go away. A contusion is also called a bruise.
Contusions are usually caused by bumps to the skin. This may happen from falling, bumping into something, or being hit, or kicked.
Almost everyone gets contusions. Those with a higher risk are:
Contusions may cause:
Contusions are diagnosed by physical exam of the skin.
The goal is to reduce swelling and pain by:
Using proper safety equipment can help prevent contusions.
American Academy of Family Physicians
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Canadian Health Network
Anticoagulation overview. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/drug-review/anticoagulation-overview. Accessed February 23, 2021.
Bruises. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed February 23, 2021.
Neutze D, Roque J. Clinical evaluation of bleeding and bruising in primary care. Am Fam Physician. 2016;93(4):279-286.
Last reviewed January 2021 by Mary Beth Seymour, RN
Last Updated: 2/23/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.