UMEM Educational Pearls

Contrary to a popularly held belief that one can estimate the age of a bruise by its color, present day research found that the color of a bruise at the time of its initial appearance is unpredictable. It is also affected by medications.
Take Home: Do not assumptions about the age of the bruise based on the color.


1. Mosqueda, L., K. Burnight, and S. Liao, Bruising in the Geriatric Population, final report
submitted to the National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC: June 2006 (NCJ 214649),
available at
2. Ralph J. Riviello, MD, MS, FACEP | on February 6, 2014 Can You Tell How Old This Bruise Is
Based on its Color? ACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 02 – February 2018
3. NIJ Journal Issue No. 255: Elder Abuse in the United StatesCurrently selected Elder Abuse in
the United States, Catherine C. McNamee with Mary B. Murphy