What Are the Different Causes of Arm Bruising?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2016
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The most common cause of arm bruising is a trauma or direct impact that leads to bleeding under the skin. This commonly occurs during athletic activities, though it can also happen during normal daily activities in which a person comes in harsh contact with a solid object. Arm bruising can also be caused by a twisting motion, and it is sometimes known as an indicator of child abuse in certain situations. If a bruise occurs without an impact taking place, some common causes include heart issues and vascular problems. It is best to see a doctor if such unexplained bruising occurs.

When an arm undergoes a trauma, blood vessels within the arm may break, leading to bleeding beneath the skin. The color of the arm bruising is likely to change over time; initially, the bruise will have a dark red or black color, since the blood underneath the skin is red. After the bruising begins to heal, the color may change from black or red to green, and even shades of yellow. Eventually the bruise will disappear entirely. Some swelling may accompany the bruise as well, and if this swelling or discoloration lasts longer than a few days or weeks, or if pain worsens, it is advisable to seek medical attention immediately.


The narrowing or hardening of blood vessels in the arms can also lead to bruising. Such bruising as a result of hardening or narrowing blood vessels is often a concurrent condition along with high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, and heart disease. People who suffer from these conditions may notice bruising, especially after exercise, and if this occurs, it is advisable to see a doctor immediately to get a thorough diagnosis as to what may be causing it. Some of the problems may be quite serious and may require immediate medical attention.

As people age, the capillaries in the skin tend to become weaker and more sensitive, so it is likely that arm bruising will occur more frequently in older people. This is not necessarily anything to be worried about, though if persistent or mysterious bruising occurs, it is still wise to see a doctor. Women tend to be more susceptible to bruising than men, though this is not the case across the board. Children can also bruise fairly easily, especially since children tend to be far more active than adults.


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Post 2

@Logicfest -- There is a better method than an IV. A port can be put in the upper arm that is more reliable than a standard IV. The thing about a standard IV is that it has to be replaced every few days under certain conditions and that means that means more IVs will be inserted for longer hospital stays and more bruising will result.

A port, on the other hand, can be put in once and stay effective for a long time. They do hurt and leave bruises, but we're talking about one insertion rather than several.

Post 1

One of the more annoying causes of arm bruising is an IV being stuck in your arm in the hospital. Those bruises last for a couple of weeks or more after the IV is removed and can hurt like crazy if the IV was stuck in the wrong place.

In other words, ouch. I am not sure why a better method of delivering intravenous medicine and liquids hasn't been developed over the years. The standard IV method we have not is painful and can leave a heck of a nasty bruise for weeks.

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