Knee bone bruise - how long to cure?

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? image 


  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    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!!

  • 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!!??

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

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

    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.


  • 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.

  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    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?

  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    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.

  • 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!

  • HI,


    Lord Boz, 

    can I ask  how the  knee is?  I have (after 8 months of  trying to   run through it ,  rest, physio ,light jogging)  have had an MRI  and  been  diagnosed with  bone  bruise (directly under meniscus!!)  I have  been advised surgery (which entails  surgeon  performing  micro  fractures to  stimulate blood flow into the injury) is  the only likely solution,

      im signed up  for a half in October,  was  wondering if you persevered with  the pain  or  rested until healed?  im hoping  to run  at  least  50% of the half,  but  will need to   build  up significantly in  the  6 weeks  before, or  push  through  the next  few  weeks  and  rest up for a  few weeks  before,  from my discussion with  the consultant  the general  phrase  bone  bruise  is covering  many ailments  within bones, mostly minute fractures, my  main  concern isn't  running  with pain, its potentially creating  a larger  fracture. seeing that  this  thread is  over a year old  how  has it  sorted for  yourself?

  • Hi Gary,

    I had to read back over what I had written to remind myself what I'd put as I'd completely forgotten about it!

    In the end, I decided that I didn't think the knee was right to run a full marathon so I withdrew. I instead completed the Birmingham half marathon in two hours after doing various training runs, 10ks and Parkruns in the lead up to it.

    Since then, it has been okay to be fair. I'll get the occasional pain in the knee every now and then, but it's much less frequent than it used to be. This year I've done a half in May and a few 10ks and I'm now into my training plan for the Chester Marathon in October.

    So, in terms of your questioning, I dropped back on the milage and concentated more on the speed element and that has helped it, but there was pain at times doing the half marathon. I'll only know fully how it is in a few weeks after some bog old long runs, but I did 35miles running last week without an issue.

    Hand on heart is it the same as it was? No. I don't think so. Is it a lot better than it was? Absolutely.

    Personally, unless you think you'll complete the half, I would keep an open mind as to whether you take part (but I know what it's like... you want to get to the start line as you'll be hopeful of getting round!). You will be able to tell in training runs how it feels esp as your long weekend runs push up to 10-12 miles. It might be more of a case of managing the pain, rather than curing it.

    This post may have helped or hindered you, but it's my experience of it. There's hundred of half marathons to be run, but you've only got one set of knees, as 'our Graham' used to say on Blind Date, "the decision is yours!"

  • I've suffered from a bruised bones on the anterior foot for over a year now. Personally and professionally i can confirm that the tenderness can come and go as a bruised bone can take a long time to heal.

    However they're ways of protecting the bone by tapping and cushioning the blow. using kinesio tapping and with soft cotton pads over the bone. The kinesio tapping will provide support to the bone and also has a positive psychological effect. 

    Please try to incorporate squats on an uneven surface i.e. grass. This will help build the strength around the knee (building balance and confidence in the joint). Do 3x15 a day with slow controlled movements. 

    Also invest in a foam roll to release tension in the IT band Quads and Hamstrings.



  • I agree about the foam roller. The Itb can pull the muscles around the knee making it tighter. Doing this helps this, and the squats will help build the quad muscles back up if they've lost any strength.
  • thanks  for  the  response's  yes  already  foam rollering  as  have  tracking  issues  with  knee caps, running  wise  I've only  managed  5 k  on a treadmill in the last week,  trying to  run incline  to  get the   most  out of  it, (im not a fast  runner- looking at  2 1/2  for the half-  as its  my  1st time), Kinso   wont  help,  the bruising  is right on impact, I have no  idea  how  I  actually  bruised it  in the 1st place,  just  had  to  pull up one morning,  eventually  having  to   give in after a few weeks  as the  impact  was  just  too much.

    did  you  take any  pain relief?  been advised to   try  diflofenic?? 


  • Stupidly i didn't have any pain killers!! Make sure you do to get the pain under control. If you don't want to use medication then ice is a natural pain killer as the ice cold temperature prevents pain being registered in the brain. (20 mins every 2 hours or 10 mins if you're taking meds as well). 

    With patella tracking issues you need to invest knee brace, if you don't want to use kineso tape, as it prevent excessive movements of the patella.  

    Only thing i can suggest is to monitor how long into your run the pain comes on. Then make sure you train to just before that point for at least 2 weeks. Gradually building up the distance by 10% a week at time without pain. Incorporate your squats as well to build up strength.   

    Try not to use the incline as you need to build up to that. 



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