Everyone develops bruises from time to time. This happens when some type of injury causes the blood vessels under the skin to burst. Sometimes you’re aware of the injury that caused the bruise, such as a fall. Other times, bruises seem to appear out of nowhere.

As we get older, we tend to bruise more easily. Therefore, it doesn’t take much to cause these blood vessels to burst. Some people are just more prone to bruising. This could be due to heredity, medication, or because they have an underlying condition. People with varicose veins sometimes experience bruising around those damaged veins.

Hematomas vs. More Serious Blood Clotsbruise vs vein disease

Our Atlanta vein specialists sometimes see patients who have fallen or struck something and developed a nasty bruise along with a lump underneath, evoking concern that they have a blood clot. That’s an understandable concern. The good news, however, is that in most of these cases, the blood has pooled inside the soft tissue outside of the blood vessel. It’s called a hematoma. It is, technically, a blood clot, but it’s not inside the blood vessel, where more serious clots form. Hematomas generally heal within a few weeks.
On rare occasions, the trauma that caused the bruise was so serious that it injured the wall of the vein, which could cause a clot to form in the vein. If it’s in a deep vein, then a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a possibility and should be treated immediately.

When Should You See a Doctor?

So how do you know if you simply have a bruise that is a hematoma and will heal, or if you should be concerned about a potentially dangerous injury to your vein? Only a doctor can determine that with certainty. If they are unable to tell by looking at it, medical professionals can perform an ultrasound to find out what’s going on in there. At our Atlanta vein clinics, we have the latest ultrasound technology , and it can help us identify blood clots and diagnose venous insufficiency and other vein diseases.

We realize that no one wants to go running to the doctor every time they get a bruise – even one accompanied by a lump. So how do you decide? In most cases, if the lump is small and contained in a localized area underneath the bruise, it’s nothing to worry about. The old treatment of RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) will usually help hasten the healing process.

Sometimes people become concerned if the discolored area increases in the days following the injury. The increase in size of the bruise can be a good sign. It means that the blood that’s in the hematoma is being absorbed into the bloodstream. That’s part of the healing process.

When Should You Be Concerned?

  • If you experience pain and swelling, particularly in your leg or arm, whether you’ve suffered an injury or not, you should have it checked out.
  • If the bruising is black, this can be a sign of a DVT. Remember that most bruises will be a reddish blue, dark purple, and then eventually turn yellow and green as they heal.
  • If you suffered a particularly serious injury that caused the bruising, it may be a good idea to ensure that a clot did not form inside the vein.

If you find yourself bruising quite frequently, particularly when you haven’t suffered an injury, it could be a sign of an underlying vein issue or some other medical problem that should be treated. If the bruising surrounds your varicose veins, it may be time to look at vein treatment options, not just for cosmetic reasons, but to improve your health and reduce pain, swelling, and discomfort.

At VeinInnovations, we offer a number of minimally-invasive, virtually painless treatments at our Atlanta area vein clinics. Call or contact us online today to schedule an appointment to find out how we can help you.