Knee Contusion – Treatment and Recovery

A knee contusion is also called a bruised knee. It is a very common injury that is usually caused by direct or repeated blows on the knee. These blows may damage a 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 most common symptom of a knee contusion is the pain at the moment of an injury. 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 vessels damage within the tissue. In this case the blood will leak into surrounding tissues, so you will notice blue and black color under your skin. 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. You should have in mind that not only the tissue may be injured, but also the bone of the knee, which will increase the severity of the injury.

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 a 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?

The treatment and the recovery of a knee contusion can last only a couple of days, but also a few weeks. It depends on the severity of the injury and also on its treatment.

The treatment of many acute sports injuries includes the so called RICE principles (Rest, Ice, Compression and also Elevation). These principles may also be very helpful for the treatment of a knee contusion. 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. If your knee is painful and bruised, it should be rested. 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 sport activities because they will put stress on the knee. It means that you should not run and climb up stairs.

Ice. In the case of a knee contusion, doctors usually say to patients to apply ice because it can be very helpful. It is recommended to apply ice 10-20 minutes every hour or at least 4-8 times a day.  This way the symptoms of a bruised knee will be reduced very soon.

Compression. For the compression you can use an elastic plaster or bandage in order to reduce swelling.

Elevation. It is recommended to elevate the injured knee higher than the heart if it is possible. This way the excess fluid will drain out from the knee and the swelling will be reduced.

Heat. There are many other strategies that may be beneficial for the treatment of a bruised knee. For example, the heat can also promote the recovery of a knee contusion. As we have already said, in the first 24-72h you should apply ice on an injured knee, but after that, 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. There are also many heating lotions that may increase the blood flow in the injured knee.

Anti-inflammatory medications. If a knee contusion is more severe, then medical attention will be necessary. 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 contusin, but the healing process will last much longer.

Stretching Exercises. Doctors will also recommend you 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. Also, the massage will remove any remaining blood clots.

But, you should know that massage is not recommended while there is still bleeding. Also, if there is bleeding, you should not apply hot baths and hot packs because they could lead to myositis ossificans and other complications.

Extra Protein. Sometimes it is also recommended to eat extra protein over the time of recovery because protein will speed up the healing process.

How Long Will The Recovery of The Bruised Knee Last?

As we have already mentioned above, the recovery time of a knee contusion depends on the severity of the injury. 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. The recovery may last even longer if you don’t rest the knee and if you don’t treat it properly.

What May Be the Complications of A Knee Contusion?

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

As we have already said, it is important to treat the bruised knee properly and to follow the instructions of your health provider. 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.


A knee contusion is a result of a direct fall or something that is hitting the knee with force. Also, it can be a result of soft tissue damage. The most common symptoms of a knee contusion are pain in the area of the knee, bruising, swelling and also the feeling of tightness. In the first 24h after the injury the skin on your knee will become dark blue or even black, 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. It is important to rest the knee and to avoid any physical activities during the treatment. Also, it is recommended to apply RICE principles, such as rest, ice, compression and elevation.

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.