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Sports Medicine

Bruised Bone in Knee

10/17/2011

Question:

I previously have had two knee surgeries. One was an ACL reconstruction and to fix a bucket tare in the meniscus. Then another meniscus bucket tare repaired about 5 year later. Both surgeries were on my left knee. Was recently tripped while running. Dr was very concerned and ordered and MRI and was told that I have a severely bruised bone in my left knee, but all was intact still. It hurts to walk or put pressure on it. Resting for me isn`t an option, since I am a military wife whose husband is deployed and I have 3 children. I have limited my activates and stopped running, but I love running and want to get back to it. What are my options and ways to get rid of the pain and how long is this going to last? Should I be concerned that when I currently walk, if I don’t have a sleeve type supportive brace on, it hyper extends backwards more than normal? But if I try and walk normal, Shooting pains go up and down my leg and my knee hurts worse.

Answer:

Optimal treatment recommendations specific to your situation need to come from your physician, who would certainly be the appropriate person to whom you should direct these questions.

In general, joint pain should guide activities, so if running worsens your knee pain but you can perform alternative low-impact or no-impact aerobic exercise to maintain cardiovascular conditioning (for ex., walking, elliptical, stationary bike, water exercise, etc.), it would be advisable to maintain your conditioning until you can resume running. If wearing your knee sleeve helps you be more functional, it would be reasonable for you to continue wearing it for now.

Pain from a bone bruise may take weeks to months to subside, but since you mentioned your knee hyperextends more now than was the case before your most recent injury, a bone bruise certainly wouldn't cause this, which would be another reason to follow-up with your physician, keeping in mind the fact that postsurgical changes from your two prior knee surgeries may have made your knee MRI scan more difficult to interpret... that is, there may be an injury in addition to the bone bruise causing pain, and which may be causing your knee to hyperextend (such as a stretched out - but still "intact" - reconstructed ACL), which a follow-up examination by your physician - comparing the findings now to your exam findings in the past prior to your most recent knee injury - will hopefully clarify. Such an additional injury may not have necessarily been clearly demonstrated by your knee MRI scan.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University