To heal a bruise, WebMD recommends incorporating a mixture of treatments, including applying ice to the affected area, compressing the bruise with an elastic bandage, massaging the area if possible to encourage blood flow and elevating the injury above the level of the heart. Topical treatments such as witch hazel and arnica are also known to aid the healing process.
Bruises that are especially painful can be treated by using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen and ibuprofen, notes WebMD. Patients are urged to avoid taking hot showers and baths during the first 48 hours after a bruise has formed, as heat can cause the area to swell more than necessary. Applying ice is recommended during this time to decrease swelling in the area. After 48 hours, WebMD advises patients to apply a heat pad to the area to facilitate blood flow.
Drinking alcohol and smoking are known to aggravate the issue, as alcohol increases swelling and smoking prevents the body from supplying blood to the affected tissues. Patients who choose to wrap the bruised area with a bandage must be careful not to apply the dressing too tightly, as this can cause the bruise to swell further, notes WebMD.