What is leg bruise?

A bruise, or ecchymosis, is a collection of blood in a confined area. It can form directly under the skin, within a muscle, in and around bone, or inside the body. Under the skin, a bruise may cause an area of discoloration that may change colors and spread before resolving. It typically starts with a pinkish red color, becomes bluish, and then turns a yellow-green color.

Pain is often present with bruising and is typically worse with bone bruises than with muscle or surface bruises. Swelling may occur, although muscle and bone bruises may not cause visible symptoms. Bruises can take anywhere from days to months to heal.

Leg bruises are due to an injury to your leg. Common causes of leg injury are automobile or other accidents, falls, sports injuries, bumping into objects, or violent acts. The risk of bruising is increased by medical conditions and medications that interfere with your blood's ability to clot and by conditions that weaken blood vessels or thin your skin.

Bleeding into a bruise is often limited, but sometimes it can be rapid or ongoing. As a bruise continues to expand, it may form a collection of blood in the tissues known as a hematoma. In this case, the pressure it exerts on nearby structures increases. When this occurs in a superficial bruise, the blood supply to the overlying skin can be decreased. If it occurs in a muscle bruise, a condition called compartment syndrome can occur and can lead to death of muscle cells.

Leg bruises can occasionally have serious complications or may mask other serious injuries. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for leg bruises that are accompanied by severe pain, deformity, excessive swelling, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), drainage from the bruise, red streaking around the bruise, or if symptoms of shock develop. Shock symptoms include pale or clammy skin, rapid heart rate, chest pain, decreased urine output, blue coloration of the lips and nails, confusion, dizziness, profuse sweating, and changes in level of consciousness.

If your leg bruise is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with leg bruise?

Leg bruising may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Medical conditions and medications that interfere with the blood's ability to clot weaken blood vessels and can contribute to leg bruising.

Traumatic symptoms that may occur along with leg bruise

Leg bruise may accompany other symptoms of trauma including:
Read more about leg bruisesymptoms

CAUSES

What causes leg bruise?

Leg bruises are due to an injury to the leg. Common causes of leg injury are automobile or other accidents, falls, sports injuries, bumping into objects, or violent acts. The risk of bruising is increased by medical conditions and medications that interfere with your blood's ability to clot and by conditions that weaken blood vessels or thin the skin.

Traumatic causes of leg b... Read more about leg bruisecauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Injuries and Wounds


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