I jammed my thumb in a drawer, and a bruise developed under the nail, starting at the cuticle. After three weeks it’s still deep purple. Is it normal for it to take this long to heal?
That depends on you, your history of bruising and whether you have other signs that could point to a problem. Whether you closed a drawer on your thumb or knocked your knee into a table leg, a bruise is a sign that small blood vessels under the skin have broken and leaked blood. About half of all people are considered “easy bruisers.” Bruises show up at the slightest bump or even when you can’t remember injuring yourself. Conditions that can make you an easy bruiser include taking medications such as blood thinners, aspirin and ibuprofen…being deficient in certain vitamins, such as vitamin C or vitamin K…taking supplements, including fish oil, gingko biloba…spending a lot of time in the sun…and even consuming large amounts of garlic or alcohol. Different people have different healing times when it comes to bruises. Some people’s bruises disappear within two or three weeks, while others’ linger longer. Age can be a factor. Bruises tend to last longer for people older than 65 because of changes in the skin. Tip: As with swelling, you can speed the healing of a bruise by elevating the area above the heart, icing it for about 15 minutes every hour for the first 24 hours, and resting the injured area. It might take longer for a bruise under a nail to heal and may have to do with growth with the nail. Most likely your current bruise isn’t something to worry about, especially if it’s moving up the nail, albeit slowly, as the nail grows out. Still, there are certain signs that any bruise, regardless of location, warrants a trip to the doctor.