Yellow Bruise Meaning on Arm, Leg, Chest and Breast


What does a yellow bruise mean? Why is my bruise yellow? These are some questions that people suffering from bruising are bound to ask. It is normal to have a yellow bruise on arm, leg, chest, and breast or on any other part. This could be after a surgery or a bruise arising from an accident.

What Does a Yellow Bruise Mean?

what does a yellow bruise mean
yellow bruises on arms, legs and thighs

Bruising occurs when the capillaries are damaged by some form of trauma. In cases of bruising, the force is not sufficient enough to break the skin. As a result, external bleeding is not experienced. Bruises keep changing their characteristics with time. Various characteristics can be used to determine the healing progress of the bruise. One could also tell how old it is through its visible characteristics. This being the case, what does a yellow bruise mean?

A fresh bruise is normally reddish due to the blood that leaks from the damaged capillaries under the skin. This will remain so for about two days. After this, the bruise will change to purple or a bluish color when around two days old. This occurs because the injury causes oxygen to be cut off the area of the bruise. This makes hemoglobin to change to these colors. When the bruise is six days old, it turns to a greenish color.

With time, the skin begins to heal itself by breaking down the hemoglobin. At around the eighth or ninth day it turns to brown or yellow. This usually marks the final phase of healing. At this point the body will reabsorb all the blood around the bruise.

It is not always that the bruise may change color. It could become larger or more painful instead of these diminishing. This could indicate formation of a hematoma. This occurs when the body fails to fix the problem and instead walls of the blood. In such cases, the bruise has to be drained by a doctor for the area to heal.

Another reason why there may not be the normal healing leading to a yellow bruise is if there is heterotopic ossification. This occurs when calcium is deposited around the injured area. This causes it to become tender and firm. This problem is mostly identified through an X-ray. It is worth noting that bruises are usually at their worst state in their first week. If they do not keep getting better one should see their doctor about it as it could indicate a more serious problem.

Why Is My Bruise Yellow?

A common question in the healing process of an injury is: “Why is my bruise yellow?” Bruising tends to be blood that is under the skin following an injury. It is normal for the bruise to turn yellow as the body reabsorbs the blood into your body.

The normal healing process of a bruise is associated with color change. By looking at what color they are, one can tell how old a bruise is. The color changes are an indication of stages of bruising. In the initial days it is red. A few days on, this will change to being bluish or purplish. At around the end of the first week it will be greenish. It is only after a week and up to the ninth day that one will experience a yellow bruise. By the second week the body will have undergone self-healing and the bruise will disappear.

When the bruises are healing, the body will break down the hemoglobin and spilled blood cells. The iron contained in the hemoglobin is reused in the body in formation of new blood cells. The rest of the hemoglobin composition is decomposed to form a green pigmentation known as biliverdin. This is then converted into bilirubin which is yellow or brown. This explains the green and yellow coloration at the end of the healing process of the bruise.

When the process is done, there is a reabsorption of reusable components while the rest are excreted. The healing process is predictable and most visible in persons with light skin. The reason why your bruise is yellow is an indication that it has gone through the healing phases and is about to disappear.

Yellow Bruising After Surgery

Patients who have had surgery are likely to experience yellow bruising after surgery. One can never tell what the extent of bruising will be as different people have different rates of healing. The extent of bruising could also be determined by how deep the surgery was.

Different colors on the bruise indicate different stages of healing. Soon after the surgery, the bruise is red. It then turns into a blue or purple color before turning green and finally one gets a yellow bruise. A yellow coloration is an indication that the post operation bruise is healing.

To help minimize the extent of bruising, one could take preventive measures before the surgery. Stop taking blood thinning products and consume foods that will work towards achieving that. One could make use of ice as a home remedy for bruising.

Yellow Bruise on Arm, Leg, Chest and Breast

yellow bruise on leg
yellow bruise on leg

There are different reasons why one could have bruises in different parts of the body. One thing is certain though. Where one is not experiencing spontaneous bruising, the bruising is caused by some injury exerting force that is strong enough to damage blood capillaries but not strong enough to break the skin.

The cause of injury could be an accident, it could occur while sporting or one could get surgical bruises. These will all heal differently depending on the extent of bruising. The color changes as the bruise heals are the same and having a yellow bruise on arm, leg, chest or breast depending on the part that was injured is an indication of the last stage of healing. Once this is over, the bruise will disappear within no time.

Yellow Green Bruise

A bruise occurs as a result of increased trauma causing capillaries to break. This makes blood to leak under the skin and build up with time. With time, the blood will sip to the surrounding tissues which will cause the bruise to spread and darken.

With time, the surrounding area tends to experience the increased pressure. With time coagulation is initiated that helps temporary blood clotting. This is what will eventually help in the restoration of normal tissue. There also is the breakdown of hemoglobin. From this there is color change on the bruise. The colors are striking and distinct enough and can help to determine how old the bruise is and how well it is healing.

The sequential degradation of hemoglobin to biliverdin then bilirudin and finally hemosiderin causes the color changes. Hemoglobin is usually red and this is the color of the bruise when it is still fresh. This then changes to green and finally a yellow bruise forms. In between the transitions, the bruise may not have distinct colors and one could experience red blue, yellowish brown or a yellow green bruise.