What is a bruised knee?
A knee contusion (bruised knee) is an injury affecting the soft tissues around your knee and also possibly the cartilage behind your kneecap.
How can it occur?
A bruised knee occurs after the body comes into sudden contact with a hard surface. This may happen, when you fall on your knee or bump into a person or object.
What are the typical symptoms of a bruised knee?
Symptoms include pain on your kneecap or underneath it and sometimes a swelling or bleeding (hematoma) of the soft tissues around your knee. You may have pain when you bend your knee or jump or even when you walk. Severe impact on your knee can cause liquid to appear inside your knee joint.
How can a bruised knee be diagnosed?
Your doctor will examine your knee and eventually order an X-ray if a fracture of the kneecap is suspected. If a bigger amount of liquid is assumed inside your knee an MRI scan may be necessary to detect lesions of the cartilage behind the kneecap.
This MRI scan shows a bruised knee with a bleeding around the kneecap. An MRI scan of the knee is usually not necessary to diagnose a bruised knee. I chose this picture, because it impressively shows the extend of bleeding into the soft tissues in this case.
What treatment options are there?
If you had a knee injury, you should take a break from your ballet training immediately. Ignoring the pain can have serious consequences, as the situation will become increasingly complicated the longer you train with pain.
The RICE concept (rest, ice, compression and elevation) is an easy guideline that can be used to initially treat acute knee injuries. Please read my “First Aid” post to obtain some background information that you will need to adapt this concept successfully and learn about the use of painkillers.
A knee brace may help to apply compression on the soft tissues while guiding and protecting the kneecap. Sensomotoric training – namely rehabilitation of active leg stabilization – is mandatory after a knee accident and should be started as soon as possible. If the cartilage of your kneecap is injured a more thorough treatment will be necessary depending on the type of the injury.
You had a knee accident? This is the next step:
- See a doctor
Dancers seek help from various different kinds of therapists, many of whom may employ treatments that are outside of mainstream medicine. Before considering the use of such alternative medicine, you should see a doctor for an evaluation and diagnosis.
Finding a doctor who is familiar with the specific medical issues faced by dancers is often challenging and you may need to see several different specialists in order to get a full picture of your diagnosis. A good place to start is to ask your friends and fellow dancers for the names of their favorite doctors.