I do combat sports, and in these sports there are a lot of hits that can cause bruising.

I've found that, over time, physical conditioning can reduce and/or eliminate the bruising to the point where even after hard impacts, there is no residual bruising.

However, I was under the impression that it is not possible to "condition" for reduced bruising since bruising is the result of ruptured capillaries, and you can't condition to not rupture blood vessels.

Can someone offer an explanation to why, with conditioning, it is possible to reduce/eliminate bruising?

  • $\begingroup$ Speculation: It may have to do with an increased capacity for repair. While you will still bruise from impact, the intensity and duration of the bruise are more limited due to a quicker/more efficient healing response. $\endgroup$ – user560 Jun 8 '13 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Leonardo. Thanks. What causes the increased capacity for repair? Is it increased blood flow? $\endgroup$ – me2 Jun 8 '13 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ healing, esp speed of repair would be dependent upon your genetics as well as your nutrition $\endgroup$ – shigeta Jun 8 '13 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ Shigeta, genetics and nutrition has nothing to do with this topic. Please read the question. $\endgroup$ – me2 Jun 9 '13 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ @me2 nutrition has a lot to do with healing better actually as I have pointed out in my answer $\endgroup$ – The Last Word Jun 5 '14 at 16:52

Bruises are a type of hematoma of tissue in which capillaries and sometimes venules are damaged by trauma, allowing blood to seep, hemorrhage, or extravasate into the surrounding interstitial tissues (reference). From what I read there seems to be two reasons why you notice a reduction in bruising.

The first would be because there is a deadening of nerve cells where they get used to the pain and eventually less sensitive. There could also be the development of some scar tissue from the bruising which has irregularly developed nerve endings leading to lesser stimulation. (reference 1 and reference 2)

The second reason could be because you yourself get stronger. The Wolff's law states that:

Bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed.1 If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading.2 The internal architecture of the trabeculae undergoes adaptive changes, followed by secondary changes to the external cortical portion of the bone,3 perhaps becoming thicker as a result (reference).

So, repeated stress on the bones of your face/hands should be make them stronger. I don't think your body can adapt to heal faster in an area from repeated bruising as most likely scar tissue will develop from repeated stress on the skin. You can however improve your nutrition and diet to help your body heal better (reference).


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