Have you ever noticed that when you get a bruise, it changes colors as it heals? Bruises can start off as a reddish-purple color and then turn yellow. This is completely normal, but what causes the bruise to turn yellow? In this article, we will explore what happens when a bruise turns yellow and why this occurs.
The anatomy of a bruise
Before we dive into the topic, it’s important to understand what a bruise is and how it forms. A bruise is an injury that occurs when small blood vessels near the skin’s surface break, causing blood to leak into the surrounding tissue. This can occur due to blunt force trauma, such as being hit by a baseball or tripping and falling onto a hard surface.
When a bruise first forms, it will typically appear as a reddish-purple color. This is because the blood has not yet had a chance to fully leave the area. As the bruise heals, the body will break down the leaked blood, and the bruise will begin to change colors. After a few days, the bruise will likely turn yellow before it fades away completely.
Why do bruises turn yellow?
So why does a bruise turn yellow? As we mentioned earlier, bruises form when blood leaks into the surrounding tissue. When this occurs, the body’s immune system will begin to work on removing the leaked blood from the area. One of the ways that the body does this is by breaking down the hemoglobin in the blood.
Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. When it breaks down, it creates a substance called bilirubin. Bilirubin is then transported to the liver, where it is processed and excreted from the body. Bilirubin is what gives bruises their yellow color as it accumulates in the surrounding tissue.
How long does it take for a bruise to turn yellow?
The amount of time it takes for a bruise to turn yellow will vary depending on the severity of the injury. Typically, a bruise will start to turn yellow a few days after it first appears. If the bruise is more severe, it may take longer for the body to break down the leaked blood and for the bruise to change colors. In some cases, a bruise may take up to two weeks to fade away completely.
Can a yellow bruise be a sign of an infection?
While a yellow bruise is typically nothing to worry about, there are some instances where it can be a sign of an infection. If a bruise becomes swollen or extremely painful, it could be a sign of an infection developing in the area. Additionally, if you have a weakened immune system or are taking certain medications, you may be more susceptible to infections. If you are concerned about the appearance of your bruise, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying conditions.
How can you help a yellow bruise heal faster?
While there is no magic cure to make a yellow bruise disappear overnight, there are some things you can do to help speed up the healing process. One of the most effective things you can do is to apply a cold compress to the affected area. This can help reduce swelling and inflammation, which can make the bruise less noticeable.
You can also try elevating the area above your heart, which can help improve circulation and reduce swelling. Additionally, getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated can help your body heal faster.
When should you see a doctor for a bruise that turns yellow?
In most cases, a yellow bruise is nothing to worry about and will fade away on its own. However, there are some instances where you should seek medical attention. If a bruise is extremely painful or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever or difficulty moving, it may be a sign of a more serious condition. Additionally, if you bruise easily or if you have a family history of bleeding disorders, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying conditions.
A yellow bruise is a completely normal part of the healing process. As the body breaks down the leaked blood, it creates bilirubin, which gives bruises their yellow color. While a yellow bruise is typically harmless, there are some instances where it can be a sign of an infection or more serious condition. If you’re concerned about the appearance of your bruise, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider.
Common Questions and Answers
Q: Can a bruise turn other colors besides yellow?
A: Yes, a bruise can turn a variety of colors as it heals. It will typically start off as a reddish-purple color before turning yellow and then fading away completely.
Q: How long does it take for a bruise to go away completely?
A: The amount of time it takes for a bruise to go away completely will vary depending on the severity of the injury. In most cases, a bruise will fade away within two weeks.
Q: Is it normal for a bruise to be warm to the touch?
A: It’s not uncommon for a bruise to feel warm to the touch, especially in the first few days after it appears. This is due to increased blood flow to the area as the body works to heal the injury.
Q: Should you massage a yellow bruise?
A: While it may be tempting to massage a bruise to help it heal faster, this can actually make the bruise worse. Massaging a bruise can cause further damage to the surrounding tissue and make it take longer to heal.
- NHS. (2019). Bruises. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bruises/
- WebMD. (2021). Understanding Bruises — Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/understanding-bruises-treatment#1