Ecchymotic literally means having the characteristics of being bruised. Ecchymosis is actually a medical term for a bruise and originally comes from the primeval Greek word which when translated would mean out and pour. This is the result when blood escapes from the vessels especially when there’s a sudden blow to a certain area which would cause blood and other fluids to leak out of the veins.
A bruise can be termed as ecchymosis when its diameter is greater than a centimeter. However, when it is less than this size, it can be considered as a purpura and when it is smaller than a purpura it is called a petechia. Ecchymosis commonly develops on the skin. However, this may also appear on mucous membranes.
An ecchymotic skin would easily be noticeable in people with fair complexion. Ecchymosis oftentimes appears as either black or blue blotches on the skin. This normally appears a few days following blood vessel injury. As the ecchymotic skin begins to heal itself, this would start to appear yellow. The different enzymes getting mixed with blood and finally leaking out of the vessels are the reason why skin discoloration develops in ecchymosis. This may also be primarily due to the breakdown of hemoglobin. The skin would only return to its normal color once the process of breaking down hemoglobin has been fully completed.
Ecchymosis is not really a serious condition and is entirely treatable at home. This may be resolved with rest and ice application. The affected area must also be kept elevated so as to avoid further swelling. There are also available painkillers to relieve pain and other discomforts. You may gradually mobilize the affected area but avoid overdoing. Nonetheless, when the ecchymosis doesn’t seem to resolve within several days, you should consult your doctor the soonest.