Can one accurately date a bruise? State of the science

Katherine R. Nash, Daniel J. Sheridan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Forensic nursing experts and other health professionals often testify regarding the injuries women and men receive from violence. Bruise discoloration can provide an opportunity for health professionals to grossly estimate the age of impact and determine if it is consistent with a given reported history. However, there is much confusion in the literature and clinical practice as to the accuracy of dating bruises. This article will demonstrate that using the color of the bruise as the primary criteria to determine its age is not the best practice. The limited available research and related literature on the topic are flawed and inconsistent. Finally, recommendations will be made for future research and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of forensic nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Age of bruises
  • Color of bruises
  • Dating bruises
  • Forensic nursing
  • Injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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