How long will it take for a knee contusion to heal?

A knee contusion is usually caused by a direct blow or fall on the knee. It is important to note that the knee faces a higher risk for contusions. Aside from contusions, an injury to the knee can result to skin tears or abrasions that are quite common among knee injuries.

If an individual sustained a knee contusion, it usually takes up to a few days or several weeks to fully heal depending on the severity of the injury and how it is managed. If you want to learn more about contusions, read here.

What is a contusion?

A contusion develops once the skin in the knee and the underlying tissues suffers from a direct blow. The capillaries which are the small-sized blood vessels break open, leaking out blood into the muscles, tissues and tendons in the knee. Always bear in mind that the bleeding can result to bruising and swelling as well as pain in the affected knee.

In case the swelling is severe, the tissue can feel tight once pressed with a finger. The bleeding can even move down the leg, thus the shin or calf can also be bruised. Aside from the tissue injury, the bone of the knee can also be bruised which increases the severity of the injury sustained.

Knee contusion

An ice pack that is covered with cloth must be placed on the affected knee for 20 minutes at 4-8 times in day.

RICE method

The ideal treatment for a knee contusion is the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). The RICE method must be started as soon as the injury was sustained. The affected knee must be allowed to rest while avoiding any sports or activities at work that will add stress on the injured area such as running or climbing stairs.

An ice pack that is covered with cloth must be placed on the affected knee for 20 minutes at 4-8 times in day. An elastic bandage can be used in order to provide compression to help reduce the swelling and provide support. The affected knee must be elevated higher than the heart if possible to reduce the swelling and drain out excess fluid from the knee.

Other treatment options

Even though ice is recommended at first for a knee contusion, the application of heat can help promote the healing. After the first 48-72 hours, you can switch to heat instead of ice if the individual feels better. The heat basically increases the circulation in the injured knee and can help reduce the swelling. You can also apply gentle pressure on the affected knee or apply heating emollients to help increase the circulation in the affected area. Additionally, additional protein during the recovery period can help promote the healing process.

Healing period

It is important to note that the severity of the injury will determine how long it will take the affected knee to heal. When it comes to a simple bruise, it can vanish within a span of a week especially if the pain is minimal and the individual is able to carry out gentle exercises to keep the knee limber. As for severe bruising and swelling, it can take up to several weeks to subside. Once the knee is stressed out by engaging in a lot of activity, it will only delay the healing process.


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