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Bruises (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

  • Call the doctor if the bruise is accompanied by swelling and extreme pain.
  • Call the doctor if you take a blood-thinning medication for a medical condition and notice significant bruising.
  • Call the doctor if bruises occur easily or if bruises appear for no reason.
  • Call the doctor if the bruise is painful and under a toenail or fingernail.
  • Call the doctor if a bruise does not improve within two weeks or fails to completely clear after three or four weeks.
  • Go to the hospital's emergency department if you think you have a broken bone along with the bruise.
  • Some bruises, such as those on the head or the eye, can cause a lot of anxiety.
    • If a bruise (sometimes called a "goose egg") occurs on the head, but the person did not black out and is able to remember the accident, it is unlikely that a serious head injury has resulted. On the other hand, if the person cannot remember what had happened and you suspect the person may have a concussion, he or she should be taken to the nearest emergency department.
    • If a bruise occurs on the face just above the eye, you can expect the bruise to travel to the area just under the eye, possibly causing a black eye, because of the effects of gravity. As long as you are able to move the affected eye in all directions and do not have changes in your vision or a headache, it is unlikely to be a serious injury that requires a visit to the hospital.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/15/2014

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