More than just black and blue, bruises go through an array of color changes during the healing process. Ranging from that 'freshly kicked' red to the 'deeply uncomfortable' purple, and the 'finally healing' yellow. The wonderful color changes of this oh so familiar injury are related to the breakdown of the hemoglobin in the escaped red blood cells. The phagocytosis and degradation, with hemoglobin producing a red-blue color, the bilirubin producing a blue-green color, and hemosiderin producing that golden-brown color seen at the end of the healing process.
Today we're looking at some of the familiar causes of bruises, the different colors you can look forward to seeing on your body after you do something dumb and injure yourself, and some painful inspiration from the COLOURlovers library.
Photo from Wikipedia
("This mark matches exactly where my iPod was in my pocket.")
Photo by feverblue
Photo from cicatrix
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Photo by DocJelly
Photo by Naked_Eyes
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A bruise, also called a contusion or ecchymosis, is an injury to biological tissue in which the capillaries are damaged, allowing blood to seep into the surrounding tissue. It is usually caused by blunt impact. Bruises often induce pain but are not normally dangerous. Sometimes bruises can be serious, leading to other more life threatening forms of hematoma, or can be associated with serious injuries, including fractures and internal bleeding. The likelihood of bruising, and severity of it, increases as one ages, because elderly human skin becomes thinner and less elastic. Minor bruises may be easily recognized, in people with light skin color, by their characteristic blue or purple appearance (idiomatically described as "black and blue") in the days following the injury.
At low levels of damage producing low-level bruising, the individual will feel some pain, either initially or delayed. The skin and surrounding region show inflammation, becoming red, tender and swollen due to the release of histamines.
Repeated impacts worsen bruises, increasing the harm level. As time progresses, blood may escape and seep into the surrounding tissues even when the capillaries are being repaired, causing the bruise to darken and spread. During about the next two weeks, the bruise color changes to a dark red then to purple, black, or blue...
eventually fading to yellow and disappearing as healing progresses.
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