View Full Version : Bruising - any help for it?

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01-12-2005, 08:59 AM
Hi All,

I just started training about a month ago and am having a problem with my forearms bruising. It doesn't seem to happen to the guys, and I'm the only woman in class...so I thought maybe someone here would have some insight.

Has anyone else experienced this? Can I expect my arms to toughen up? Is there anything I can do to minimize it or make them heal faster?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated,

01-12-2005, 09:05 AM
IMHO, bruising usually comes from impact. You may need to have a senior student of instructor watch your form and see if you are resisting or landing too much on the part of the body that is bruising. Blend with your partner, and the mat. Relax, breathe, and enjoy yourself.

01-12-2005, 09:22 AM
Not just from impact, the old yonkyo can cause some strong bruising on the forearm too. Try getting hold of some arnica cream, this is very effective against bruising.


Alternatively, you can get some arnica tablets, take a few up front and it will help reduce the amount of bruising.



01-12-2005, 09:25 AM
Until you get the kinks worked out, especially from being new to ukemi, you may want to buy some Arnica gel to put on the bruised areas to help them heal.
Some medications can cause bruising to occur more easily, as well, though that would be something to check with your doctor about.

01-12-2005, 09:34 AM
Question to ask yourself:
Do you bruise more easily at certain times of the month? Myself and a mate of mine both find this to be true (sorry everyone else too much detail).

It takes a serious whacking before I get a bruise otherwise!

If you don't get enough vitamin C you bruise easily. Not sure if that's an old wives tale though.

You do toughen up over time, so it should be getting better.

As for fixing the bruises lasonil (over the counter at pharmacists) works a treat. As does witch hazel for superficial bruising.

Hope this helps.

01-12-2005, 10:16 AM
The same exact thing happened to me, Carrie! I am the only woman in class and was bruising every night on my forearms. My fellow students tried to give me advice, like I should change my diet, etc. But I knew I was getting all the iron, protein, etc. I needed. I rarely have bruising on my arms now...but it took about a year. I don't know if my arms toughened up or what. I still have lots of trouble with yonkyo...I am extremely sensitive to it and it takes little pressure to get me. I consider myself to have a high pain tolerence too. I got a lot of looks from my co-workers when I was bruising...I think they thought I was being abused! :eek: Hang in there.

Jerry Miller
01-12-2005, 11:26 AM
vitamin k should be helpful.

01-12-2005, 11:41 AM
I bruise on my forearms, too, mainly from yokomen/shomen attacks (when I am uke). Also, there are a couple of fellas at my dojo with a "deathgrip", and I sometimes get a nice bruise just above my wrist. I'll try the arnica suggested above, thought I'd just have to live with it... On another note, my mom and mother-in-law have both stopped taking vitamin E and report a noted decline in bruising.

01-12-2005, 11:49 AM
I've used arnica quite effectively on bruises in the past, so I'd be happy to recommend it. You may consider using an icepack on the affected area directly after training as this will diminish any inflammation that is occurring with the bruise, and, in my experience, decreases the size of the bruise and how long it lasts. You can use an icepack directly on skin (or with a paper towel inbetween - depends on personal comfort), and ice for 20 minutes or until the skin goes numb - whichever is soonest! (no frostbite, please). the mistake that people make with icing is that they take the icepack off when it gets uncomfortable,then reapply it - this has no real effect as the tissue underneath can have time to warm up again. When ice is applied to skin you should feel the following sensations - cold (obviously!), followed by an icy burning feeling, then aching, finishing with numbness (CBAN for short - only way I can remember it!).

all the advice given in this thread is pretty good (sounds like plenty of aikidoka out there know what it's like to be bruised, and how to fix it!), and I would add that you should make sure that you drink plenty of water, before and after training, if only because we as humans never seem to.

As you might tell, I'm having a day off (Reno has just had it's worst winter storm since 1911, so most people are staying home), and I've got nothing else (except post messages on aikiweb) to do until training tonight - woohoo! (nothing like cabin fever to make you want to go out in freezing blizzards so that you can wear white pyjamas and run round a dojo screaming - do you think they will allow me to train there anymore?) :D :D

01-12-2005, 01:18 PM
In the initial bruising icing is good. Once the bruise starts to turn the ugly green and other colors heat should help remove the dried blood from the area. If you are concerned, you should have blood tests run to see if you are anemic which could be fixed with diet. Also, I have had good luck resolving bruises with kinesio-taping. You also might ask your partners to lighten up on their grips a bit.

01-12-2005, 01:48 PM
Good point, John. We might also point out that there are contraindications to icing - if in doubt, ask a doc :D

Janet Rosen
01-12-2005, 04:34 PM
In the absence of other bleeding and bruising issues, it is probably NOT diet related; you are just one of the many women who do bruise easily. Like the others, I found that arnica gel worked wonders (reduced the resolution time on any given bruise by about half to third) and that in time the situation resolved. When I stopped training for 18 months, my wrists bruised slightly again for the first few classes.

01-12-2005, 08:19 PM
There are lots of things you can do for bruises and you will get them now and then, but I would say that if you have them constantly from training you or your partners need to change the way you practice. If you are a smallish female training with a bunch of big guys it is no wonder you are getting bruises just from their grips. Even if you can do the techniques successfully with these "death grips", why hurt yourself every time? Ask them to be firm and have good contact without damaging those blood vessels! If they are skilled, they should be able to do this and you'll both benefit.

01-12-2005, 08:54 PM
A friend of mine once showed me that Vics Vap-O-Rub will cause an older bruise to disappear. I have tried this once or twice and was surprised to find that it actually works - if you miss a spot it will retain the bruised color. Now, I consider Vics Vap-O-Run to be a somewhat weird substance and I'm not sure if helps any with the healing process, but it does seem to remove bruises.

Don Hebert

Lyle Laizure
01-12-2005, 11:08 PM
My Sensei uses Dit Dot Jow. His son makes it and it seems to work wonders on brusies. It smells something aweful but effective.

01-13-2005, 12:18 AM
For the first year I got spectacular bruises on arms and shoulders. Now I can take the same amount of abuse and it doesn't show, though the class where sensei introduced yonkyo for the first time was an exception.... My co-workers were impressed by the huge but painless bruise that represented the junior student trying and failing to find yonkyo, but I had to point out the tiny but very sore bruise that represented the senior student who knew where it was!

I love to soak in hot water; I don't know if it helps the visible bruise but I sure feel better the next day if I soak. I found out the hard way after one seminar that waiting till next morning to soak doesn't work; needs to be the same day you get pounded.

Mary Kaye

Peter Seth
01-13-2005, 06:29 AM
Arnica cream applied asap.tends to stop bruising

01-13-2005, 09:58 AM
I've always been inordinately Proud of my bruises, to the point of being disappointed when they Don't show.

01-13-2005, 10:02 AM
Thanks for all the great advice...

While I do get the occasional bruise from taking ukemi (picture a landed carp flopping around on the floor) the forearms are definitely from gripping. I never really thought of myself as easily bruising, but I suppose this isn't exactly what my body considers 'normal' use either. I just don't want it to interfere with my training.

I'll ask my partners to ease up a bit in the meantime - and also make a quick trip to the druggists. I do get some rather pointed looks, and even some outright inquiries - which usually result in astonishment when they find out it's from something I engaged in VOLUNTARILY, LOL.

Thanks again!

01-13-2005, 10:37 AM
I've always been inordinately Proud of my bruises, to the point of being disappointed when they Don't show.
Interesting. I take bruises (both in receiving and giving) as an indication that I need to improve my aikido.

-- Jun

Mat Hill
01-13-2005, 10:48 AM
I'd definitely go with the arnica cream and if you can get them the homeopathic pill version too. I've used them for some time.

Also a good dit da jow (Chinese bone/bruise medicine) should do something. There are lots of dodgy ones (literally snake oils? :eek: :D ) but the good ones are really good. If you check out a local Chinatown you should be able to find a Chinese doctor who could give you something. I wouldn't bother asking for dit da jow, it's a generic name loads of pronunciations depending on the language! The one I used in my kung fu class smelled like (and indeed contained) whiskey, which raised some eyebrows in the morning from my workmates! :yuck:

Another method traditional to a lot of Chinese arts and muay thai, if you have the stomach (or something lower!) for it is to press the bruises really hard and massage them from the centre outwards and away from the heart. It really hurts :crazy: , and they get bigger, go fantastic and hideous colours, but disappear in one or two days, when they might take a week or so normally.

After a while you should stop bruising so much. I used to be literally black and blue after my first few classes of wing chun, and again after I started on the wooden dummy (not in aiki, I was lucky enough to be fairly natural at breakfalls! :cool: ), but I don't really get bruises at all any more.

I do have slight scarring on my wrists from those heavy grippers though, but it never hurts any more. :)

01-13-2005, 10:52 AM
Interesting. I take bruises (both in receiving and giving) as an indication that I need to improve my aikido.

-- Jun

Well, yeah, that ,too. Like the one that spread from the middle of my chest all the way down my arm was a very clear sign that I needed to improve my ukemi!

But this goes back to before aikido,and somehow it feels much more satisfying to say it happened in Dance or Martial Arts instead of getting hit by my (ex) husband. At least I acquired it from something Positive.

01-13-2005, 10:59 AM
I bruise easily in general, and when the guys in the dojo grab my wrists, I end up with bruises. In a lot of cases I don't mind much, because firm contact without being too strong will still bruise me. Some, though, go out of their way to really grab hard, and that's when I get the really deep, swollen bruises that do require a brief request to be more gentle!

Arnica hasn't seemed to help me as much as other people seem to have been helped, but that might be the brand I have or the fact that I don't use it regularly. :) Rubbing does help, though, and I think that might be the root of the Vicks solution: rubbing helps your body break down and reabsorb the blood that's creating the bruise.

In general, all I can recommend beyond arnica and rubbing is to use the bruises as a way to become more aware of where your body is and how to keep from getting hurt. Like Jun, I often think that my bruises or sore spots are indicators of how I can improve my aikido.

My sensei mentioned that as time went by, his bruises started to heal more quickly. So I and other easily bruised people can hold out some hope. :)

Hanna B
01-13-2005, 11:16 AM
Has anyone else experienced this? Can I expect my arms to toughen up? Is there anything I can do to minimize it or make them heal faster?
It will get better over time, for two reasons. Firstly, I suppose you are in beginner's class - and beginners cause bruises on their partners because or their lacking technique. I always get bruises from the tip of thumbs on my upper arm, when practicing ikkyo with newbies. (then there is of course yonkyo, but that is an exception to the rule)

Secondly, it will get better because your arms will get more muscle. I suspect the reason you get more bruises than the guys, is because of difference in muscle on the arms - quite a big difference between men and women. Most women - and some men - who start doing aikido notice that after some time, they need to use another hole in the watch strap...

I wouldn't go for arnica, I would use heparin. I used it sometimes; it makes bruises vanish in about half the time. Here it is sold in the pharmacies in a cream called Hirudoid, but the name could be different in your place. Ask at the pharmacy.

01-13-2005, 11:49 AM
Arnica, Jow and Vicks-wear those together and you may not have to worry about bruises-your partners won't want to grab you (although I think the arnica does not smell). I've smelled some pretty nasty Jow before.

As a side note, women do tend to bruise easier than men-not a sexist thing, just reality. Anemia can make one prone to bruising as well. People with thinner skin and fair complexions sometimes bruise easier as well. Also, if you are taking a blood thinner (aspirin, coumadin, and I believe melatonin) you will also bruise with little pressure. Those infamous yonkyos used to leave finger prints on me when I took aspirin for knee pain. I am sure there are other medications as well that may make you prone to bruising. Persistent bruising or abnormally large bruises should be checked out to make sure you don't have a bleeding or clotting disorder.

Rocky Izumi
01-15-2005, 08:05 PM
If the bruise is recent (and for any bone, ligament or tendon damage), try using Zheng Gu Shui 3-5 times a day but only use it for up to 3.5 days. After that, switch to Dit Da Jao (I like the 5 photos brand). Do not use Zheng Gu Shui more than 3.5 days. It is similar to Dit Da Jao in composition but uses an acetone carrier. Overuse will result in deep tissue scarring that will reduce flexibilty and be very difficult to recover from. I find that for sprains, Zheng Gu Shui with icing if very effective during the first 1.5 hours. (Warning: do not get Zheng Gu Shui anywhere near any mucosal tissue . . . guys, wash your hands real good before going to take a leak.) You should be able to feel the heat coming off an injured area that is inflamed. If it is still hot, icing will be effective but I suggest going to a hot/cold treatment within the third day . . . 15 min cold . . . . 15 min hot . . . . 15 min cold. By the time you move to the Dit Da Jao, your injury should start feeling colder than the surrounding areas due to the lack of circulation. At that point, move to a pattern of . . . 15 min hot . . . . 15 min cold . . . 15 min hot. . . . 15 min cold . . . 15 min warm.

This has worked for me, my Sifus, and my students pretty well to speed up healing.



Niamh Marie O'Leary-Liu
01-16-2005, 06:09 AM
Like some of the other posters, I'm also the only woman in my dojo and seem to be the most prone there to bruising, even though I haven't noticed any unusual level of bruising compared to other women back when I played in team sports. The bruising is usually on the forearms and usually comes from yokomen strikes (either as uke or nage), yonkyo, and firm grips in techniques like shihonage.

It's been over a year and a half of frequent aikido practice (several times a week) plus light strength training with a trainer at the gym about two times a week. My grip has gotten significantly stronger but my wrists are still small (same watch band size) and I haven't noticed any increase in muscle mass on the outside of my forearm, though I haven't been specifically targeting that area. A little more tone in other parts of the arm but that's it. A strike or firm grab on the wrist/forearm is still impacting almost right on the bone.

There've been some great tips on this thread, some of which I will definitely try. I have a different type of tip: If I have bruised forearms/wrists and have to attend an important meeting for work, I make sure to wear something with long sleeves to avoid any curious or sympathetic stares that can't be addressed over a conference table.

01-16-2005, 04:15 PM
Do you take aspirin during the day, before or after your aikido classes? This could be contributing.