When you have unexplained bruising on legs (or contusions as they are formally known), your first reaction is normally to poke it.
“Where did that bruise come from?”
There are many things that could lead to this unexplained bruising and although it might be nothing at all, there is a chance that it could be a result of an underlying medical condition.
What is a Bruise?
Although very common, when you bruise it’s normally a sign that you have damaged the surface of the skin either by bumping something or knocking into someone or someone. The blow or impact has ruptured the blood vessels that are situated just under the skin and as a result, they have leaked underneath the surface giving you the odd discoloration. Your body will try to reabsorb the blood that has escaped and because of the chemical reactions that take place, the changing of color will begin.
Normally appearing in the form of brown / blue / green / purple unevenly shaped patches, for the most part, they are nothing to worry about. We all get bruises every day and sometimes it’s without even realizing.
Generally, a bruise will heal in a couple of weeks (approximately two to four weeks) but this will depend on the severity. As a general rule, bruises that appear on the legs will take longer to heal than elsewhere on the body.
If you have unexplained bruising on legs, it could be a sign that something more sinister is happening. If you don’t recall bumping or bashing into anything or anyone, it could be down to the following:
1 – Exposure to the sun
The sun lets off some pretty powerful rays and when these UV rays hit the skin, they causes damaged which could turn into unexplained bruising and other forms of discoloration on the skin.
2 – Fractures or sprains
If you have excessive bruising that comes hand in hand with swelling and a lot of pain, or if you are unable to walk on the leg with the bruising, it could be a sign that you have fractured or sprained something.
These symptoms will normally appear within thirty minutes of the incident.
3 – Strenuous activity
Bodybuilders and people who like to partake in strenuous physical activity will often find they have unexplained bruising on the legs and this is where the blood vessels have ruptured from the pressure of the exercise. In these cases, it can take a few days for symptoms to appear in which time, the patient will have forgotten about the original injury.
4 – Vitamin / Mineral Deficiency
If your diet is lacking any of the vital minerals and vitamins that your body needs in order to be healthy, it won’t be healthy. In fact, unexplained bruising on legs is often explained by a low-iron diet and will materialize in the form of anemia. If this is the case, you’ll probably find that it won’t just be your legs that become bruised. It is likely to be all over the body.
If your diet is lacking iron, vitamin B12, vitamin C or vitamin K, your cells aren’t getting the nutrition they need in order to be strong and healthy and will grow in poor form. They will become damaged much quicker and once they are damaged, the body will struggle to repair them.
It is wise to discuss the situation with your doctor before taking any medication but you might find that a vitamin supplement will help to resolve the situation especially if you look at something with high levels of Vitamin C and also contains compounds called bioflavonoids.
5 – Diabetes
When you suffer with conditions such as diabetes, your blood circulation is affected. Not just that but diabetes normally causes the patient to lose weight and this is just another cause for unexplained bruising on the legs. There is less of a fat reserve to protect the cells and therefore they will become more easily damaged by light knocks and bumps.
6 – Fragile Blood Capillaries
There have been a few recent studies in Europe which has shown that some patients have fragile blood capillaries meaning that they become damaged much easier due to a genetic reason. This is the main cause of their unexplained bleeding on legs or on other areas of the body.
7 – Medication
There are certain types of medication which are designed to think the blood and one example of this is Warfarin which is often giving to patients who have previously suffered with blood clots.
The point of this medication is to thin the blood and make sure it doesn’t clot in the veins or arteries. It will often have some unpleasant side effects however and two of these include not being able to stop bleeding once you start (because the blood doesn’t clot), and also unexplained bruising.
You are likely to have bruising if you take any anti-coagulation medication and even more so if you are a clumsy person!
8 – Aging
Sadly aging is one of the root causes behind so many problems with the body and bruising is one of them. Over the years, the cells have become damaged and overworked so then an accident or bump / knock does happen, it will take longer for the injury to heal and therefore longer for the blood to be reabsorbed back into the body.
Elderly patients will often find they bruise more often, and the bruises also stay around for a lot longer.
9 – Alcohol
If you like a drink every now and again, alcohol could be the reason behind your unexplained bruising. Studies have shown that alcoholics tend to have less vitamin C in the body and therefore the body cannot rejuvenate or repair itself as well as someone who doesn’t drink.
If an alcoholic has an injury, it will bruise more (brighter colors and larger bruises) and it will also take longer to heal.
10 – Diseases of the blood
There are a number of blood disorders that have unexplained bruising as one of their common symptoms and although it’s unlikely you will be suffering with these, they will beed to be ruled out by a doctor.
Blood cancers can cause poorly functioning blood cells and even a decreased lack of cells which again, can lead to unexplained and excessive bruising, and also conditions such as leukemia, thrombocytopenia, sepsis, platelet dysfunction, hemophilia and more.
11 – Graves’ disease
There are lots of changes happening to the body with Graves’s disease and as well as reducing the function and affectivity of the capillary blood vessels, will also result in weight loss which again, is often the root cause behind the bruising.