What are the Most Common Causes of Bruising?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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A bruise is a discolored area of skin that generally results from the breakage of tiny blood vessels. Once broken, the blood vessels can leak blood into microscopic tissues lying underneath the skin, resulting in a bruise or contusion. The causes of bruising can vary. Hard falls and miscellaneous types of physical trauma are the most prominent bruise causes. Bruising may also be caused by bleeding disorders, medications, vitamin deficiencies and aging.

Hard falls and various types of physical traumas are the foremost causes of bruising. Falls may occur randomly during everyday life or while participating in activities such as recreational or contact sports. Other types of physical trauma can cause bruising as well. For example, the skin may be traumatized enough to bruise by bumping into an object or by being involved in an automobile accident. In addition, a bruise may be caused by being physically injured or assaulted by another person.

Bleeding disorders can also cause bruising. Sometimes, individuals who bruise very easily go for long periods of time without knowing the cause. Often, after medical tests, the bruising is sometimes linked to a type of bleeding disorder. Most typically, the disorders involve a problem with the blood clotting properly. Examples of some common blood clotting disorders that cause bruising include Von Willebrand's disease and hemophilia.


Certain medications can also cause bruising. For instance, individuals who take different types of blood thinners are generally very susceptible to bruising. Blood thinners commonly include a medication such as Coumadin. Additionally, over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin may also thin the blood and make a person prone to bruising. Although it is not a blood thinner, corticosteroids may also cause bruising, as they may thin the skin over time.

The causes of bruising may include vitamin deficiencies as well. When a person's body lacks essential vitamins, he or she may develop a vitamin deficiency. Some of the most common deficiencies include vitamin C and B12 deficiencies. The deficiencies may result from malnutrition, stress and destructive behaviors such as smoking and drug usage. Many may not know that bruising is listed as one of the many health-related side effects of a vitamin deficiency.

Furthermore, aging can be one of the most natural causes of bruising. Generally, as people age, they bruise more easily. For this reason, older individuals generally bruise more easily than younger people. This may be attributed to the occurrence of thinning skin as people age. In addition, the capillary walls may also weaken over time, which can also make bruising easier.


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Post 4

@shell4life – I know what you mean. I get bruised so often that I only remember how the most severe ones got there.

I have a couple of really playful large dogs. They like to run fast and body slam me, so I get a few bruises every week from them.

So, if I see a bruise on my leg, I just assume that it is from the dogs. Chances are that I'm right.

I wish there were some sort of bruise treatment that would make them disappear overnight. I hate being stuck with all these dark spots on my legs, especially during the summer.

Post 3

I often forget what causes my bruising. I see dark bruises on my legs all the time, but I cannot recall how they got there.

I am rather accident prone, so I think that I bump into stuff so often that I just can't remember every incident. Pain is frequent and normal in my life, so I just write it off rather quickly.

Post 2

My dad is in his seventies, and I believe that his age is what causes his easy bruising. He doesn't have any vitamin deficiencies, but he does have much thinner skin than he once had.

It seems that every little scratch makes him bleed these days, and every little bump causes a reddish-purple bruise, especially on his hands and arms. What would only cause a small bruise on me would create a severe one under his skin, one that seemed to suggest that something traumatic had happened to him.

Post 1

I have also heard that being too skinny can cause easy bruising. Anorexic people and those who just don't have access to enough food are at risk for this.

Fat can cushion the blood vessels and protect them. If someone just doesn't have enough fat, they will get bruised more easily.

I've never been skinny enough to notice bruising issues. I would imagine that you would have to be pretty malnourished in order for this to happen.

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