Most of the time, bruise will occur because of an injury which leads to the breaking of some blood vessels. The area heals over time and as this happens, and the body will reabsorb the blood, leading to the bruise disappearing. Some conditions lead to bruising easily on legs that occurs more frequently than normal. If you are experiencing frequent or unexplained bruises on legs, you may wonder what causes this issue. Learn about the reason of bruise as well as when you will need to consult your doctor.
Potential Causes of Bruising Easily on Legs
Changes Related To Age
In some cases, bruising on legs is related to aging. As people age, the capillary walls become frailer and increasingly prone to injury and this may lead to the legs bruising easily. With age, the skin will also become thinner, making it less capable of protecting the underlying blood vessels. As such, older people may develop large bruises from even small injuries or bumps.
Over-Exposure to the Sun
People with a history of sun exposure or skin-damaging sunburns will have thinner skin, which in turn leads to more frequent bruising. As people age, collagen is lost and UV light will cause additional damage. To prevent easy bruising, stop sun damage with sunscreen.
Low Nutrient Levels
Certain nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin C deficiency, may lead to legs and other parts of the body bruising more easily. People who do not get proper nutrition will notice their bodies are not able to heal themselves as well. A registered dietician can help make necessary changes and improve health.
Taking medications which stop blood from clotting or cause it to thin may increase the risk of easy bruising. People who injure or bang their legs while on these medications may experience more severe bleeding than normal and related bruising that occurs even with minor bumps or injuries. There exist various supplements and herbal remedies which produce the same result so always consult a doctor about herbal remedies and medications being taken if bruising begins to increase in frequency.
This general term describes multiple conditions affecting the body’s lack of ability to normally form blood clots. These conditions can lead to easy formation of blood clots and various symptoms. Thrombophilia may be inherited as part of a medical condition or occur after long periods of inactivity caused by surgery or paralysis. Clots may form within the leg veins, creating bruising as well as red spots and skin discoloration in addition to swelling.
Multiple blood diseases can cause easy bruising, including hemophilia (inability of blood to clot), blood poisoning, liver disease, kidney disease, or cancer. There should be concerned if the legs (or another part of the body) bruise easily and there are other symptoms or multiple bruises.
This vascular condition involves blood leaking out of very small capillaries and it creates thousands of tiny purple and orange bruises. This condition is more common in the elderly, particularly near the shins. In severe cases, purpuric dermatosis may include itching, but it can be treated with good sunscreen and prescription topical creams.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a type of autoimmune disorder that includes low platelet levels in addition to easy bleeding and bruising. There is not a clear cause, but many believe ITP is due to gluten intolerance. It also tends to affect young women the most frequently. A simple blood test can determine if this is the problem.
This autoimmune disease includes stiffness, joint pain, dry mouth and eyes, eye burning, discharge, and itching as well as easy bruising, all with a slow onset. A blood test is all it takes to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis and there are natural treatment remedies.
Diabetes may also cause bruising easily on legs that is inexplained. Additional symptoms include nausea (possibly with vomiting), blurred vision, frequent urination, fatigue, excessive appetite and thirst, cuts or sores that heal slowly, dry mouth, frequent vaginal infections, and itchy skin (particularly around the groin). As with other causes of bruising on legs, diabetes can be diagnosed via a blood test and depending on the type, may be treated with lifestyle and diet changes.
Although serious, leukemia is just one potential cause of bruising easily on legs. Other symptoms for this cancer include tiny red spots underneath the skin, joint and bone pain, fever, easy bleeding, feeling full or pain in the ribs, painless lumps (in the stomach, groin, neck, or underarm), paleness, frequent infections, and fatigue. Blood tests and bone marrow biopsies can both diagnose leukemia.
How to Deal With Bruising Easily on Legs
Apply ice. If you are bruising easily on legs, you can work to heal the bruises with ice. Applying ice constricts injured blood vessels so the bruise doesn’t get larger, just remember not to ice it for over 15 minutes each hour.
Apply heat. A full day after the bruise appears, you can apply heat as this will circulate the gathered blood, letting it flush out. Apply the heat for a minimum of an hour.
Lift leg. If you can, prop up your bruised leg as this moves blood flow so it goes away from the injury.
Supply nutrients. You can also try eating foods with large quantities of flavonoids or vitamin C as both help the body regenerate collagen, a substance to fortify blood vessels. Opt for prunes, pineapple, bell pepper, leafy vegetables, or citrus fruits.
Use creams. Aloe vera or arnica gels may also help by dilating the blood vessels and reducing healing time.
When to See a Doctor
Easy bruising may sometimes indicate an underlying condition of a serious nature, like blood disease or a blood-clotting issue. Therefore, you should see a doctor if you:
Experience large and frequent bruises, particularly on the face, back, or trunk or those which develop without a known reason
Experience easy bruising and your history includes significant bleeding (like during surgical procedures)
Suddenly start bruising, particularly if this corresponds to starting a new medicine
Have easy bleeding or bruising in your family history
Any of those symptoms may indicate abnormally functioning or low levels of platelets or issues with proteins forming the blood clot. Your doctor will probably do tests to check platelet levels of the blood’s ability to clot.