How to Treat a Bruise

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No, don’t put a steak over it.

I’m not always the most well-oriented person. What I mean by that is that I have an occasional tendency to walk into stationary objects like walls, doors, and counters. I have no idea how it happens, it just does. Occasionally, if I’m moving too quickly or bash myself at a weird angle, I end up with a nice, achy bruise for my trouble. Bruises are unpleasant, especially if they’re in a spot that limits your range of movement, but thankfully, they’re not that hard to treat.

If you or a family member have a bruise, there’s a four-step process you can employ to treat it called the RICE Method. “RICE” is an acronym that stands for Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate.

First, if at all possible, rest the affected area. If the bruise is on your leg, for example, try not to walk. Secondly, sooth the burn with an ice bag or chemical cold pack wrapped in a paper towel to prevent freezer burn. Leave that on there for 10 to 20 minutes, and repeat a few times over the course of the day if you need to. Third, in the event the bruise begins swelling, use a medical compress to hold it in place. Don’t make it too tight, you just want a little bit of pressure. Finally, depending again on the location of the injury, try to elevate it.

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As long as the skin isn’t broken and bleeding, you shouldn’t need to use any kind of bandage or adhesive. If the pain is really bad, a typical over-the-counter pain reliever will help. The pain and discoloration should fade in a few days’ time, though if it continues swelling to a noticeably painful degree, you may want to go see a doctor.