Hesperian Health Guides


A bruise means that the tissue under the skin has been damaged and some blood is leaking out of the blood vessels. Bruises can hurt a lot and cause concern to the person, but they are usually not a problem. Treat a bruise the same way you would a sprain or strain: with rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

A bruise on the head or abdomen may be a sign of a more serious problem. See what to do if the person recently suffered a hard blow to the head or was struck in the abdomen.

If you notice someone getting bruises often, or with several bruises at different stages of healing, it may be a sign of abuse. Gently try to find out if they are in danger and need help.

This page was updated:17 Sep 2020