Unexplained Bruises on The Legs: Common Causes and Treatments


Bruises on Legs

Have you ever woke up in the morning with unexplained bruises on your legs? You don’t remember bumping or banging your legs or arms before going to bed. Everybody’s had bruising at some time in their life.

We all have seen the bright unevenly shaped patches on the part of our body we’ve banged or bumped. In fact, you usually remember the pain rather than the bruises on the legs. You wonder how bruising happens and how they appear.

In this article, we will discuss bruising of legs, how to happens and how to treat them naturally.

What Are These Bruises on Your Leg?

The bruises are very common and are usually a sign that you have damaged the skin surface by bumping something or knocking into someone.

The bump or blow has broken the blood vessels just under the skin, and as a result, they have leaked beneath the surface giving you the odd discoloration.

Normally appearing as black, brown, blue, green, or purple patches are usually nothing to worry about. Many times, the bruise appears without even realizing how it got there.

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The bruises will heal in two to four weeks, but bruises on the legs usually take longer to heal. Unexplained leg bruises could be a sign that an underlying problem might exist.

It can be concerning if your bruises take an especially long time to heal after they appear.

What Causes Bruises on the Legs?

There are many different causes of unexplained leg bruises. The bruising of legs can be due to injuries, underlying diseases, and certain lifestyle factors.

The unsightly bruises on your legs can appear for many of the reasons listed below.

1. Aging

Your skin and tissue of your limbs become thinner and less flexible as you age (1). Due to this, a minor injury can easily damage the skin, leading to excessive bruising of the arms and legs.

Also, longtime sun exposure makes blood vessels particularly vulnerable to rupturing causing bruising.

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2. Injury

If you recently experienced an injury to your leg like a severe bruise you may have done damage underneath the skin.

Excessive exercise can also damage the tissue beneath the skin. As this tissue heals, you may be more prone to leaking blood near the tears in the blood vessels, leading to unexplained bruising of the legs.

3. Vitamin Deficiency

If your body lacks the nutrients necessary to build tissue properly, the tissue can be worn and more easily injured. Deficiencies in Vitamins B12, C, or K can lead to poorly formed tissue (2).

Women are more likely to experience these deficiencies than men, especially if they are dieting. As your body loses excess fat, your thin tissue becomes more exposed and easier to injure.

4. Excessive Medication Use

Medications that disrupt the circulation can increase your chances of unexplained bruising. Ibuprofen, anti-inflammatories, aspirin, and some birth control medications can lead to blood thinning increasing your risk of bleeding.

Also, dietary supplements like ginkgo and fish oil, have been shown to leaky capillaries. You should be aware of a medications side effect and their drug interactions before taking them.

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5. Diabetes

Diabetes disrupts the blood circulation making it easier for your skin to bruise (3). You may also notice brown or black patches appearing in areas where the skin folds or creases. Bruising may also appear in areas you inject your insulin.

6. Graves’ Disease

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that damages the thyroid, causing increased amount of hormones (4).

These hormones overstimulate the gland causing the body to burn calories more quickly leading to excessive weight loss. This causes capillaries below the skin to become damaged, leading to bruised legs and skin.

7. Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC)

When the healthy tissue is replaced by scar tissue in the liver, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis of the liver happens.

Scarring can develop due to injury or disease and will disrupt protein production, digestion, immune system function, and blood health.

PBC tends to appear more between the age of 35 and 60 years old. Lack of energy, unexplained weight gain, and excessive bruises on the legs are common symptoms.

8. Leukemia

Leukemia is a form of cancer that grows in the bone marrow. It disrupts the production of red and white blood cells. A side effect of leukemia can be excessive bleeding from wounds or unexplained bruising on legs and arms.

9. Excessive Alcohol

According to some studies, alcoholics tend to have less vitamin C in their body. Excessive consumption of alcohol disrupts the normal healing process of the body.

Your body may take longer to heal than normal. Additionally, an alcoholics bruises tend to be brighter colors and larger which take longer to heal.

How to Treat Bruises on the Legs?

Bruises on the legs do not require any specialized medical treatment as they typically heal on their own within two to four weeks.

There are many natural remedies for healing your bruises. Some tips that might be helpful for you to combat your unexplained leg bruises are detailed below.

1. Cold Compress

You can apply the cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the bruises. It would help shrink the blood vessels.

It may also help with any soreness and prevent the bruised area from getting larger. Apply for 10 minutes, wait for 20 minutes and then apply again.

2. Restrict the Blood Flow

Elevating your affected leg above the level of your heart can also reduce swelling. You can also use an elastic bandage and wrap it tightly around the bruised area. You need to do this within the first 24 hours after you see the bruises on your legs.

3. Warm Compress

If your leg bruise still has a vibrant appearance after two days, begin applying heat to the area twice or thrice a day until the healing begins. The heat will ensure a steady blood flow to remove the damaged cells.

4. Vinegar

Using vinegar is another natural remedy for bruises on the legs. Trying vinegar will help promote your blood flow to your skins surface to gather your collected blood. It is important to combine vinegar with warm water before applying on the skin (5).

5. Herbs

Use the gel of Arnica directly on your bruise. The gel of Arnica can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Additionally, crushed fresh parsley leaves covered by a bandage could also be used as a topical remedy.

6. NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)

NSAIDs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help reduce the swelling. Avoid taking aspirin. It is important to visit your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.

Can You Prevent Bruising of Legs?

Some precautions can help you prevent the unexplained bruising on your legs. Prevention comes in a variety of ways as detailed below.

  • Increase your intake of vitamin C. Eat more citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruits, lemon
  • Include plant-based foods containing flavonoids in your diet to promote absorption of vitamin C
  • Eat brussel sprouts, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables to avoid vitamin K deficiency
  • Keep pathways clear of obstacles and secure your rugs and small mats
  • When participating in contact sports and physical activity be sure to wear protective gears
  • Ensure hallways and stairs are well lit and use nightlights at nighttime

When Should You Seek Medical Care?

Look for a professional medical attention under the following scenarios:

  • Excessive bruising of legs characterized by unusually large patches
  • Sudden bruising that tends to repeat on the legs often
  • Longer healing time especially longer than three weeks
  • If you are a woman and the bruising on the leg is accompanied by heavy menstruation periods or bleeding gums

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James Concato

James Concato

James Concato is a Hospital Administrator in the Chicagoland area. He has been in healthcare for more than 25 years. He holds a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration from Quinnipiac University and has worked in or lead many different departments. Writing on cancer treatment and cancer prevention through natural treatments...
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