A bruised knee is an injury that causes pain and usually discoloration in your patella. Patella is the medical term for kneecap. A bruised knee is also called a patellar contusion.
A bruised kneecap occurs from a direct injury to your kneecap. This usually happens from falling onto your knee or by being hit by an object.
You will have pain directly over your kneecap. You may also have pain underneath your kneecap. You may have swelling in your knee. You may have pain walking or running. The outside of your knee may become swollen if the bursa is bruised. The bursa is a fluid filled sac just in front of the patella.
Your provider will ask you about your symptoms and examine your knee. He or she may order an X-ray.
To treat this condition:
While you are recovering from your injury, you may need to change your sport or activity to one that does not make your condition worse. For example, you may need to swim or bicycle instead of run.
The effects of a bruised kneecap may last several days to weeks or longer. It may take longer if the back of the kneecap is injured.
Everyone recovers from an injury at a different rate. Return to your activities depends on how soon your knee recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury has occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your normal activities as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury.
You may safely return to your normal activities when, starting from the top of the list and progressing to the end, each of the following is true:
Most bruised kneecaps are caused by accidents that cannot be prevented. If you are in a sport that has knee protection, be sure that your equipment fits properly.