Bruises, Cuts, Wounds and Lacerations

Also known as: scrapes, skin injuries, scratches, tears

What are bruises, cuts, wounds and lacerations?

Bruises, cuts, wounds and lacerations are all types of skin injuries, some of whom are superficial and others that are deep. They can occur for a variety of reasons and range in severity. Some are minor annoyances that hardly need any care, while others can be life-threatening.


What causes bruises, cuts, wounds and lacerations?

Bruises, cuts, wounds and lacerations almost always occur due to some type of injury or impact to the skin or body. Bruises (bleeding into the skin without a cut or laceration) are often occur due to a direct blow to a body part; some children with blood clotting difficulties may be more likely to bruise than others. Cuts, wounds and lacerations result from contact with something sharp, such as a knife, glass or saw.


What are the symptoms of bruises, cuts, wounds and lacerations?

Bruises are variably sized discolored area of the skin. They often appear as a red/pink patch which over time becomes blue/purple, then greenish followed by yellow/brown by day 7. They tend to disappear by 2-4 weeks. Bruises on the legs, thighs and arms tend to stay longer. If a bruise gets bigger over time a physician should evaluate it. Cuts and lacerations are a slicing injury that penetrates the skin and causes bleeding. Wounds is more of a catch-all term to describe any of these types of injuries.


What are bruises, cuts, wounds and lacerations care options?

Treatments for bruises, cuts, wounds and lacerations will vary widely based on severity. Minor cuts or bruises may require no care; gaping or long cuts may require stitching. Consult your Pediatrician for any injury that doesn't appear minor, is deep, gaping, has dirt in it that you cannot easily remove, continues to bleed, looks infected (redness, painful or pusy), if you are unsure of the extent of the injury, if you think your child needs to be seen urgently or if you have any questions regarding the care needed.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 7/7/2017 9:02:06 AM

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