Knee bone bruise - how long to cure?

8 messages
15/05/2013 at 15:57

Hello all.

Take a seat and I'll tell you a story. 29th Jan this year, I was moving house, tripped over a box and landed on that thin plastic strip you get sticking up on the ground at the foot of a PVC door. I landed on it slap bang in the middle of my knee.

It was pain - big pain. I thought that after a few days it'd go. It didn't. It didn't shift at all. A few weeks came and past and still no joy in shifting the pain. I was still running at the time, doing 10ks at the gym a few times a week and parkrun as well.

Eventually, I went to a physio - who sent me to have an x-ray (all clear) who then sent me to a consultant - who sent me to have an MRI - which came back with a bone bruise of the... and I quote: "There is very minimal diffuse hyperintensity in the lateral most aspect of the lateral tibial plateau extending to the subchondral bone. This could be due to bone bruising."

I was told I'd be 'done and dusted' in six weeks with physio. After six weeks of not running, I started to try running again and slowly built it up to 5k. The knee was fine during exercise, but was still a bit sore after - nothing ground breaking, but still sore.

Last Bank Holiday weekend, I did Parkrun on Sat (felt ok), then did 10k on Sunday (felt ok) and 10k on the Monday as well. Then the pain returned. Haven't run since last Monday - knee pain is sometimes non-existent, then comes back and it's a really dull ache, the sort you could forget about, but know it's there.

Still there? Good. Now, I'd signed up to do the Yorkshire Marathon in York on Oct 20th (first full marathon). My 16-week training plan is due to start on June 30th.

At the moment, I'm scared to run as if it delays the healing process, then I can say goodbye to the race. Do I just wait it out and rest the knee in the hope that by the end of june it'll be pain free to run, or do I test it out before and hope that it'll get used to the pounding it's going to take and hope I can get through it.

I honestly don't know what to do for the best. Anyone know how long these things take to heal?  

15/05/2013 at 17:41

I'm no physio... but just from general experience, my guess is that you won't do much real damage by running on it.  In fact, running through the pain might help...  increasing blood flow and cell-replacement in the affected area.  You've had all sorts of high-tech tests, so you know there's nothing major wrong that you could aggravate.

I really think you should put up with the ache, and trust that it will get better in time.  Things like banged knees and coccyxes (spelling?)  just seem to take forever to become totally pain free... but I don't believe it's a real fundamental problem, like it would be if you were ignoring cartilege-related pain.

DISCLAIMER:  I say this with no real medical knowlege!!

15/05/2013 at 18:07

Firstly thanks for reading and replying - it's a small war and peace, but believe me, if you lived with me, you'd hear about it a lot more!

My main concern now is really damaging the knee for the future. I like having two working knees, it's a good thing and I'd quite like to be able to kneel down in the future without worrying whether I'll get back up again.

The line I quoted was from the (expensive!) consultant radiologists report. My ACL was fine (they called it 'unremarkable' I felt insulted) and the consultant didn't seem that fussed there was any issues.

I think I started running at distances and at frequencies which were too quick, too soon.

I'm just sick of having to spend ages stretching before doing anything - oh pain, when will you go!!??

15/05/2013 at 19:37

I know I said I know nothing, but it seems you've disregarded my advice! 

Honestly, that was my point.  If all the key bits of your knee are known to be in unremarkable, normal order, then what long-term damage are you going to do?  It seems to me that you're in a pretty good position, knowing that your knees are essentially good.

OK, don't go mad, but if the problem is some deep bruising, I just can't see what you can do that means you won't be able to kneel down when you're older!  If a medic could clarify, it would be great.

btw...  What do you mean by 'stretching' before setting off?  I'd have thought just a bit of dynamic warming up...  possibly with a bit of massage.     But stretching cold muscles/tendons is not a good idea, and can perpetuate injury.


15/05/2013 at 19:44

Stretching as in the knee cap, glutes and ITB so that there's not as much tension around the knee. I stretch quads and hamstrings too - them boys get tight if I don't.

16/05/2013 at 15:05

I am in a similar position.  I was knocked off my bike (by a dog, 6 weeks before London!) and I also did some knee damage.  I also had an MRI, knee specialist etc.  I cant remember what the exact diagnosis was but it was a bruised knee, a few other things but no ligament damage or anything serious. The specialist said that it should take about 12 weeks to get better (this was 5 weeks after the accident) and in that time, impact would not be my friend. He said cycling and swimming would be though.  I cycled a few weeks ago and it was a little swollen after so i left it and am trying 7 miles tonight and seeing how it goes.

I'm not sure if I am helping, but having withdrawn from London and really taking a step back, I am really nervous about starting again.  It never really hurts when I do stuff, but i can feel something.  As with you, I am more bothered about having a functioning long term knee than any race, but I do want to do Abingdon marathon on Oct 20th. My physio seems to think that will be fine.

In the meantime, my physio have me doing work to try and strengthen my quads and glutes, without putting pressure on my knee.  I am doing

- bouncing on a 75cm swiss ball holding the upward bounce at the top every 2 bounces

- bridging

- very gentle squats, keeping the movement in the upper area

- side raises, lying on the floor raising my leg (works glutes and upper legs)

Not sure if any of this helps?

16/05/2013 at 15:10

Btw, just re-reading your OP, mine is also a dull ache, just letting me know that it's there and I dont like it!  A dull ache to me = a reminder that if did too much, it would get worse/something isn't right.  I just want it to go away.  Previously my knees (unlike most other areas of my body) have been fine.

16/05/2013 at 21:40

I've got exercises to strengthen my quad and knee, sometimes it's getting the time to do that before or after work - could do with having a renewed push on these to help the knee even more as I've slipped off over the last few days since my knee issues of last week.

I'm going to give it a blast on Saturday down at Parkrun and see how it goes - it was going okay until I stepped it up too quick too soon. I've had ten days now of doing nothing and eating sh1te so, I need to just see if the knee can do it!

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