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18 'Habits' of People Who Bruise Easily

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Most of us are probably very familiar with bruises due to the occasional sports injury or bump into the coffee table. A bruise, or contusion, occurs when the soft tissues of the body get bumped or hit, causing small veins and capillaries under the skin to break. The blood cells that leak out give the skin its blue, purple, red or black tones, which may fade to green or yellow as the bruise heals.

• What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
• What Are Common Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Symptoms?

Though getting a bruise here and there is fairly normal, for some, bruises are a much more common (even everyday) occurrence. In most cases, this happens because the blood vessels are weakened, causing them to be more fragile and prone to breakage, even if the bump was gentle. A person may not even remember the bump or injury that caused the bruise.

Easy bruising can be caused by several lifestyle factors, such as poor nutrition or excessive sun exposure, or physiological factors, such as aging, genetics, illness or medication side effects.

There are a number of diseases and health conditions that can weaken the blood vessels and surrounding tissue, leading to easy bruising. These include (but are not limited to) protein disorders, such as amyloidosis; blood clotting disorders, such as hemophilia; connective tissue disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome; platelet disorders, such as thrombocytopenia; bleeding disorders, such as von Willebrand disease; blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma; infections, such as sepsis; kidney disease; and liver disease.

Several types of medications can also increase your chances of bruising. These include corticosteroids, such as prednisone; antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin; NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen; anticoagulants (blood thinners), such heparin; antibiotics, such as penicillin; and antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (brand name: Prozac).

If you bruise easily, experience abnormal bruising or have bruises that take longer than usual to heal, it’s important to talk to your doctor to determine the underlying cause.

Once a bruise forms, there’s not much you can do to make it go away. Some find applying ice and elevating the area to be helpful. Many people who bruise easily may find themselves developing certain other “habits.” These behaviors might include avoiding bumps or injuries that could lead to a bruise, covering up bruises or altering certain parts of your lifestyle.

It’s not always obvious why friends and loved ones may engage in certain behaviors and activities, when in reality it’s for the sake of their health. To better understand the life of someone who bruises easily, we asked our Mighty community to share a “habit” (positive or negative) they’ve developed if an illness or medication causes them to bruise more than average. If you can relate to any of the following, know you’re not alone.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1. Being Hyperaware of Your Surroundings

Always be hyperaware of surroundings. Other people and objects can have a sudden impact that lasts for days, weeks or take therapy to resolve.” – Julie D.

I’m hyper aware of everything around me. I go out of my way to avoid other people.” – Kitty O.

2. Walking Sideways Through Doors

“Whenever I walk through a doorway, I turn sideways and walk in at an angle to avoid painful hip bruises from bumping into the door knob.” – Erica C.

“I always pull my shoulders/elbows in when passing people and turn sideways when going through doors.” – @BlooDanube

3. Poking the Bruise

Not a great habit lol, but every time I find a random bruise from EDS [Ehlers-Danlos syndrome] I always seem to poke it because if it hurts then it means it’s new, and if it doesn’t, it’s old.” – Hallie N.B.

4. Wearing Long Pants and Sleeves

“I wear long sleeves, frequently, to cover bruising on my arms and long skirts or pants to cover my legs. I’ve taken to hiding them as much as possible because co-workers and acquaintances have called social services more than once for suspicion of abuse.” – Elise L.B.

“It’s probably been about 10 years since I left my house in shorts or a skirt shorter than calf-length. With how badly my legs bruise, it can actually be embarrassing.” – Amanda B.

Never wear anything shorter than capri pants, as my legs are often bruised, especially around my knees.” – Rebecca D.

5. Constantly Checking for New Bruises

Checking for bruises every night to see how they’re spreading or if any of them seem worse.” – Madison T.

6. Avoiding Obstacles

I’m great at moving through crowds and obstacles, because I’ve learned to avoid ‘altercations.’ However, I still manage to bump into or get hit by something while avoiding another thing. My life is like a never-ending game of ‘paintball.’ Except, instead of paintballs hitting me and causing welts, it’s everyday objects like a door handle, coffee table or some stranger’s elbow.” – Breanna N.

7. Sleeping on Your Back

“I have to sleep on my back with a pillow under my knees. Sleeping on my side causes bruises from the pressure on my legs.” – Brittany N.

8. Breathing Deeply During Blood Pressure Reading

“Deep breathing during blood pressure testing. I’ve come to dread blood pressure exams because the cuff bruises me/breaks blood vessels almost every time, especially when my BP is really low so it takes a long time to get a reading. It hurts quite a bit to be squeezed until the vessels pop and just have to sit there, but if I move or hold my breath it makes it take longer and hurt worse, so I do deep breathing to get through it.” – Ashley B.

9. Covering Bruises With Band-Aids

“I’ve been on steroids for about a decade and they cause my skin to be so thin, it’s impossible to avoid the constant bruising and skin tears. In the warmer months it’s just too hot for long sleeves so I cover up all my scrapes with bandaids. Sometimes I wonder if having all those bandaids all over me looks worse than just the scratches and bruises.” – @JustPeachy3

10. Wearing Comfy Socks and Shoes

I have to watch what socks I wear because the tops can bruise me.” – Kaylla R.S.

I don’t wear flip-flops because the tops of my feet bruise.” – Mikayla R.V.

I always try to lace new shoes so that there’s not significant pressure in one concentrated spot. It has made me dread shoe shopping a little less.” – Ang N.

11. Walking With Your Hands Outstretched

I always walk with my hands out or on something. It may be a little cautious but I also fall sometimes or nearly faint so it helps for many reasons.” – Misti M. 

12. Making Up Backstories for Your Bruises

Making up stories when people ask ‘how did you get that bruise’ because I literally have no idea how I got it.” – Sarah M.

I bruise from anything. I make up battle wound stories to explain to anyone who asks.” – Summer F.

13. Treating Bumps and Injuries ASAP

If I hit myself on something, I put essential oils, CBD oil, etc., something on it ASAP. Not only are bruises unsightly, but they can ache like non-other. This helps reduce the inflammation.” – Tab M.

14. Covering Your Bruises With Makeup

I’ve become really good at coverage makeup.” – Brittney B.

I bruise but not heaps, but did when I was younger. [I] cover with makeup.” – Margann B.

15. Exercising Caution During and After Blood Draws

Having to be very careful after things like blood tests because even up to a week later I can keep getting more bruising if I’m not careful, which can get really painful.” – Lucy E.

I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and it is said we bruise if you look at us wrong. Every time I get an IV or need a blood draw, it not only hurts, but it leaves my arm black with bruising from my elbow to my shoulder. So If I need a blood draw or IV, I request a pediatric kit. The needles and cannulas are thinner and smaller. It’s worth asking, if just to avoid having to wear long sleeves for two weeks after a blood draw.” – Jen R.

16. Wearing Soft, Loose Clothing

I’ve stopped wearing tight, restrictive clothing. I was wearing skinny jeans once and the seams left bruises along my inner thigh! Now it’s dresses and leggings for me!” – Katherine A.

I tend to wear soft, oversized clothing.” – Billie P.H.

17. Explaining Yourself to Others

“When I see people staring or frowning in the general direction of my bruises, I automatically start explaining my illness.” – Elise L.B.

I have the habit of noticing when people are staring at unusually large bruises, and saying, ‘I don’t know how I got that.’ Why do I do this? Idk. I always feel like I have to explain myself even when there isn’t an explanation.” – Kylee P.

18. No Longer Worrying About It

I just have to forget about them, they’ll go away eventually. My compression gloves leave bruises on my hands, my small child bruises me from sitting on my lap. I can’t worry about each one anymore. I just live.” – B.N.D.

Well a kind of bad habit I’ve developed is that I no longer really care or notice bruises. So in turn I don’t actually know if I’ve hurt myself for real or just leaned on something weird since I don’t bother to check anyone.” – Sean F.

Shrugging my shoulders! I’ve spent too much time worrying about what my bruises look like or how they got there. It’s just another part of my day!” – Janine G.

What’s a “habit” you’ve developed because you bruise easily? Let us know what you would add in the comments below.

To read more, check out the following stories from our Mighty community:

Getty Image by toons17

Originally published: June 7, 2019
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