Bruises are common in BJJ. Well, they are for me anyway. Whether that’s because I tend to fare worse than the others in the club or maybe it’s because my skin is thin. Yes, sticks, stones and names hurt me.
Bruises are bluish or purple-coloured patches that appear on the skin when tiny blood vessels called capillaries break or burst underneath. The blood from the capillaries leaks into the soft tissue under your skin, causing the discolouration. There are common places on the body for these to appear. Shins, forearms and inside bicep receive the majority. Bruises often feel tender or swollen at first. But this fades through shades of yellow or green – usually after around two weeks.
The problem is that within those 14 days you will no doubt be back on the mat and getting bruised some more. Some people are naturally more likely to bruise than others – for example, elderly people may bruise more easily because their skin is thinner and the tissue underneath is more fragile.
I’ve read articles that state that you can treat bruises on your skin by limiting the bleeding immediately after the injury happens. Never works for me but give it a go by cooling the area with a cold compress (a flannel or cloth soaked in cold water) or an ice pack wrapped in a towel. Hold this over the area for at least 10 minutes. Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may help relieve the pain associated with bruising. But they don’t hurt that much, c’mon, man up!
Most bruises will disappear with no long term issues. If you still have a bruise after about two weeks, then see your Doctor. As an aside, you should also see your Doctor if you suddenly get lots of bruises or start to bruise for no obvious reason. Unusual bruising is sometimes a symptom of an underlying illness, such as a problem with the way your blood clots. Sounds nasty.
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