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Knee Contusion – Treatment and Recovery

Knee Contusion – Treatment and Recovery 

A knee contusion or a bruised knee is a very common injury and usually is caused by repeated and direct blows on the knee. These blows may damage muscle tissue and cause different symptoms.

More about these symptoms you will see below. Also, we will show you what is a contusion of the knee and how to treat this condition properly.

What Are the Symptoms of a Knee Contusion?

The pain at the moment of an injury is the most common symptom of a knee contusion. The following day you may also experience bruising, tenderness and swelling in the area of the knee.

You should know that the knee is vulnerable to contusions, so if you fall onto the knee, you will also have a knee contusion. Also, the bruising may occur if your tissue is damaged, for example, if you have a sprain of a knee ligament.

The bruising is actually a result of blood vessel damage within the tissue. You will notice blue and black color under your skin because the blood will leak into surrounding tissues. It is proved that it takes about 24 hours for the bruising to develop. After a couple of days, you will notice that the bruising will fade, so your skin will turn yellow or green.

You may also experience a feeling of tightness in the area of a knee. Keep in mind that the severity of the injury may increase and not only the tissue may be injured, but also the bone of the knee.

In most cases, a knee contusion is not a serious problem. But, when the impact on a knee is too hard, the pain will also be more intense and it will be difficult to move the leg. In this case, medical help will be necessary.

Now when you know what a knee contusion is and what may be the symptoms of this condition, we will show you how to treat it properly. If you have a similar problem or if someone you know has a knee contusion, you should read carefully this article. It may be very useful for you.

How to Treat a Knee Contusion Properly?

Only a couple of days can last the treatment and the recovery of a knee contusion but sometimes can go to a few weeks. It depends on the severity of the injury and also on its treatment.

The so-called RICE principles (Rest, Ice, Compression and also Elevation) are the treatment of many acute sports injuries. For the treatment of a knee contusion, these principles may also be very helpful. It is necessary to apply these principles as early as possible after the injury and to continue applying them for a couple of days. This way you will start the healing process and you will prevent further injury. If you apply these principles correctly, they will reduce the symptoms of an injury for a very short time.

Rest the Knee. The most important thing when it comes to the treatment of a bruised knee is to have a rest. Your knee should be rested if it is bruised and painful. You should not play or train because it may increase the swelling of the knee and it may also increase internal bleeding. It is necessary to avoid any sports activities because they will put stress on the knee. It means that you should not run and climb upstairs.

Ice. Doctors usually tell patients to apply ice, in the case of a knee contusion, because it can be very helpful. It is recommended to apply ice at least 4-8 times a day or 10-20 minutes every hour to help reduce the symptoms of a bruised knee.

Compression. You can use a bandage or an elastic plaster for the compression, in order to reduce swelling.

Elevation. The injured knee needs to be elevated higher than the heart if it is possible. The reason is that the swelling will be reduced because the excess fluid will drain out from the knee.

Heat. There are many other strategies that may be beneficial for the treatment of a bruised knee. For example, another way to promote the recovery of a knee contusion is by using heat. You should apply ice on an injured knee in the first 24-72h, and then, if you notice that the knee is getting better, you can also use the heat. It will increase the circulation of the blood in the damaged knee and it will reduce swelling. The blood flow in the injured knee may be increased by using heating lotions.

Anti-inflammatory medications. Medical attention will be necessary if a knee contusion is more severe. The doctor will probably prescribe you ibuprofen or some other anti-inflammatory medications that will reduce swelling and the pain in the knee. In the case of a severe knee contusion, you should apply the same treatment as in the case of a minor knee contusion, but the healing process will last much longer.

Stretching Exercises. Doctors will also recommend some stretching and mobility exercises for hamstrings and quads. These exercises may be beneficial in the case of loss of movements.

Sports Massage. Sports massage is recommended in later stages after the injury. The massage can be very helpful because it will prepare the muscles for sport. Any remaining blood clots can be removed also by using a massage.

While there is still bleeding, the massage is not recommended. You should not apply hot packs and hot baths if there is bleeding because they could lead to myositis ossificans and other complications.

Extra Protein. Eat extra protein over the time of recovery is also recommended sometimes because protein will speed up the healing process.

How Long Will The Recovery of The Bruised Knee Last?

The severity of the injury of a knee contusion defines the recovery time. If it is a small bruise, it will vanish after a couple of days, especially if there is a minor pain. But, if there is severe bruising then you will need several weeks or even months for the recovery. If you don’t rest the knee and if you don’t treat it properly, the recovery may last even longer.

What Could Be The Reason of A Knee Contusion Complications?

If you are following the instructions of your health provider, there will be no complications. The condition can get even worse, if you stress the knee too much or if you don’t treat the knee contusion properly. The myositis ossificans and the compartment syndrome are the most common complication of a knee contusion. In these cases, you will probably need immediate surgery.

It is important to follow the instructions of your health provider and to treat the bruised knee properly. Also, we have given you some of the best strategies to treat the bruised knee. In most cases, rest, compression, elevation, and ice will help and they will reduce the inflammation.

As we have told you, some gentle exercises may also be helpful. But, if you notice that the symptoms are not reduced even after a couple of days or if your injury is getting worse, it is necessary to seek medical help as soon as possible.


Something that is hitting the knee with force, can result in a knee contusion or a direct fall or it can be a result of soft tissue damage.

A knee contusion results in bruising, swelling, pain in the area of the knee, and also the feeling of tightness. The skin on your knee will become dark blue or even black, in the first 24h after the injury, but later it will start to fade slowly.

As we have already told you, in most cases, a knee contusion is not serious and it can be treated within a week or so. During the treatment, it is important to avoid any physical activities and to rest the knee. Such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation RICE principles are recommended to apply.

But, if the injury is more severe and if the symptoms are getting worse, the recovery will last much longer. Sometimes it is important to seek medical help and to follow the instructions of an expert. This way you will avoid any complications and your knee will get better soon.


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