A person commonly experiences bruises when he/she has suffered any injury, which causes breaking of some blood vessels/capillaries. As the injured region heals, there is reabsorption of the blood and the bruising disappears. However, there are certain conditions which lead to more frequent and easy bruising on the legs than is normal. In our article, we have explained what are the causes and the treatment for unexplained or frequent bruises on legs. Read on to find out more.
Some of the Causes of Bruising Easily on Legs
Age related changes: In some individuals, there is easy bruising on the legs related to aging. As a person ages, the walls of the capillaries become thinner and more vulnerable to injury and this causes the legs to bruise more easily. As the capillary walls become frail with age, they also lose their capability to protect the underlying blood vessels. So you can see older individuals bruising easily even with small bumps or injuries which lead to big bruises.
Decreased Levels of Nutrients in the Body: In our body, some specific nutritional deficiencies, like deficiency of vitamin C can lead to easy bruising on the legs and other areas of the body. Individuals with improper nutrition lose their ability to heal their body as well as previously. Consulting a dietician will guide you in making necessary dietary changes in order to improve your health.
Excessive Sun Exposure: Individuals who have a history of excessive sun exposure or sunburns, which damage the skin, will have thinner skin, which leads to easy and frequent bruising. As mentioned above, aging process will lead to loss of collagen and exposure to UV light causes additional damage. One way to prevent easy bruising on legs or anywhere on the body from sun exposure is to use sunscreen.
Bruising Easily on Legs Due to Certain Medicine Use: Taking certain medications or blood thinners, which stop the blood from clotting or thin the blood, increases the risk of easy bruising in legs or elsewhere on the body. Individuals who are taking these medications if they bang or injure their legs, then they will have more severe bleeding than is normal and so is the bruising, which occurs even with minor injuries or bumps. There are some herbal remedies and supplements, which also lead to easy bruising on the legs or other areas. So, always consult your doctor regarding taking any medicine if you are experiencing easy and frequent bruising.
Diseases of the Blood: There are many blood diseases, which can lead to easy bruising and some of these conditions include hemophilia, which is the inability of blood to clot; blood poisoning, kidney disease, liver disease or cancer.
Thrombophilia: This is a group of conditions, which comprises of the lack of ability of the body for normal formation of blood clots. In thrombophilia there is easy formation of blood clots along with other symptoms. Thrombophilia can be an inherited condition or can occur after prolonged periods of inactivity due to conditions, such as paralysis or surgery. Clots can develop within the veins of the leg resulting in bruising, red spots, skin discoloration and swelling.
Purpuric Dermatosis as a Cause for Bruising Easily on Legs: This is a vascular condition where there is leakage of blood from minute capillaries resulting in thousands of tiny orange and purple bruises. Elderly individuals are more susceptible to this condition, especially near the shins. Purpuric dermatosis, in severe cases, can also include itching. Treatment comprises of use of a good sunscreen and topical creams.
Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP): This is a type of autoimmune disorder where there is low platelet level along with bleeding and bruising. ITP does not have a clear cause, but is believed to occur as a result of gluten intolerance. Young women are more commonly affected. This condition can be confirmed with the help of a blood test.
Bruising Easily on Legs Caused due to Diabetes: This medical condition also causes unexplained easy bruising on the legs. Other symptoms include nausea, possibly vomiting, blurry vision, frequent urination, increased appetite and thirst, fatigue, slow healing sores or cuts, mouth dryness, itchy skin and frequent vaginal infections. A blood test can easily diagnose diabetes.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease in which the patient experiences joint pain, stiffness, dry eyes and mouth, eye discharge, burning, itching and easy bruising. A blood test helps in confirming the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Leukemia: This is a serious medical condition, which also causes easy bruising on the legs. This cancer also has other symptoms, such as tiny red spots beneath the skin, pain in the joint and bone, easy bleeding, fever, pain in the ribs, formation of painless lumps, pallor, fatigue and frequent infections. Blood tests along with bone marrow biopsies confirm the diagnosis of leukemia.
Ways of Dealing with Bruising Easily on Legs
- Application of ice on the bruises on the legs can help with their healing. Ice application helps in constricting the injured blood vessels, which in turn prevents the bruise from getting larger.
- Icing should not be done for more than 15 minutes and should not be applied directly against the skin, but should be wrapped in a towel and placed against the bruises.
- Application of heat can be done after 24 hours have passed after the development of the bruise. Heat will help in circulating the accumulated blood and helps in flushing it out.
- Eating nutrient rich foods, which have large quantities of vitamin C or flavonoids, helps the body in regenerating collagen. Collagen helps in fortifying the blood vessels. Some of the foods which will help in this include pineapple, prunes, bell pepper, citrus fruits and leafy vegetables.
- Lifting or propping the bruised leg helps in the blood flowing away from the site of injury so that the bruise can subside.
- Creams, such as arnica gels and aloe vera, help by dilating the blood vessels and cutting down the healing time.
When to See a Doctor for Bruising Easily on Legs
In some cases, easy bruising can indicate a serious underlying condition, such as a blood-clotting issue or blood disease. Therefore it is important to consult your doctor if you:
- Start having frequent and large bruises, especially on the face, trunk or back and especially for those bruises, which develop without any known reason.
- Suddenly start bruising easily, especially after starting a new medicine.
- Start experiencing easy bruising and you have a past history of significant bleeding during surgeries etc.
- Have a family history of easy bruising or bleeding.