Deciphering the Types of Bruises My EDS Causes

Deciphering the Types of Bruises My EDS Causes
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As someone with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), bruising is just a part of life. I rarely give my bruises more than a passing glance anymore. They’re just of a part of my natural complexion at this point.

People who aren’t used to my bruising tend to be pretty shocked, and they’re often confused by my nonchalant attitude about it. It used to bother me quite a bit, especially as a teenager, but I’ve reached a point where I generally don’t care. I’ve learned that positivity is the best approach, and stressing over things I can’t control does nothing but heighten my anxiety, which is a common co-diagnosis of EDS.

One thing I do find odd, however, is that I have different types of bruises. Some appear, and I have no clue how I got them. Typically, they don’t hurt, even when touched. Other bruises are big, but they’re only painful in a small area where the actual injury occurred. The rest is just “extra” bruising.

And then there are those that just hurt and seem to bruise in a semi-normal size. It’s bizarre.

I’ve always been one to easily find patterns, so it didn’t take long to realize that I had different types of bruises, or to realize that each feels different.

The bruises that aren’t painful to the touch typically don’t hurt when they happen, either. I usually don’t know how or when I got them, and they seem more like a temporary skin blemish than anything else. They appear, I wonder where they came from, and then they fade.

The big ones are the kind that tend to make people gape. Thankfully, now that I don’t play contact sports, I don’t get them very often. But when I do, they’re obvious. I know when these happen. They typically involve a significant impact, and I know it’s going to be “pretty.” The point of impact usually starts to bruise immediately, and then over a day or two, it spreads well beyond the original injury point.

The third kind is the one that’s oddest to me. Last week, I accidentally knocked my electric toothbrush off the bathroom counter, and it landed on top of my foot. It’s not a particularly heavy item, it’s not sharp, and it didn’t fall very far. But I knew the moment it hit my foot that the bruise would fall into the “normal sized, but extra painful” category.

There’s a different type of feeling when that impact happens: It’s sharper and deeper, and it lingers. It’s difficult to explain, but I know instantly if it will be that type of bruise.

While bruising is very much an EDS thing, I don’t know if this type of bruising pattern is just me or if others with EDS experience something similar. In the end, the type only really matters for my own curiosity. Whichever it is still doesn’t look good, and I just have to wait for it to heal.

But I do find some satisfaction in recognizing the patterns. It gives me a small sense of understanding of a disorder that is rarely understandable.

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Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.

An avid equestrian and educator, Karen has been a columnist at BioNews since 2019. She was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in 2009 after a years-long search for a diagnosis that explained her symptoms. Karen enjoys working with her students, riding and caring for her two horses, Cherry and Spotty, and connecting with others in the rare disease community through her work with BioNews.
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An avid equestrian and educator, Karen has been a columnist at BioNews since 2019. She was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in 2009 after a years-long search for a diagnosis that explained her symptoms. Karen enjoys working with her students, riding and caring for her two horses, Cherry and Spotty, and connecting with others in the rare disease community through her work with BioNews.
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4 comments

  1. Susan says:

    I agree with your assessment on bruising. As a matter of fact, yesterday I opened a door to my garage that I open many times a day, and must have grabbed it wrong and hit a weak spot, and had pain, swelling, and bruising that hurt intensely occurred on the palm of my hand. It smarted for hours. This morning, the pain is only in one spot,but the bruising is larger. To bruise your palm opening a door with a round knob, is crazy. But, it is what it is.

    • Karen Del Vecchio says:

      Hi, Susan. Thanks for your comment! It’s really interesting to hear about how each of with EDS experiences bruising. I’ve definitely had similar experiences to the one you described. I think I’ll always find it strange.

  2. Alex says:

    I’ve noticed similar bruising patterns. I have half a dozen bruises on my leg right now and no idea how I got any of them. For my first job, I worked in a fast food place with a lot of metal shelving and would always bump my hips on the shelves during a lunch rush. Most of the bruises would be large but relatively painless, but sometimes I’d hit the metal in just the right way for a normal sized and extremely painful bruise. I’m glad it’s not just me that’s notices this.

    • Karen Del Vecchio says:

      Hi Alex! Like you, I’ve always wondered whether this was something that happened just with me or with other E-DS patients as well. It sounds like there’s at least two of us out there who bruise like this 🙂 Thanks for chiming in and sharing your experiences!

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