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Knee hematoma - your experiences?


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So a week ago Saturday, I fell while bowling (stepped over the line, onto the oiled lane) and did a number on my knee. The ortho doc told me that nothing was broken (after x-rays, of course) but that there was a lot of internal healing that'd need to happen and I have a lovely hematoma (pocket of blood) near my patella. He said we'd wait for "a while" to see if it'd go down on it's own and to apply periodic heat to help it on it's way. He also said to "let pain be my guide" as to how active I am or how quickly I get back to working out. Luckily, I'm not in a lot of pain, but the hematoma is putting pressure on my knee when I bend it and, of course, I do get really sore if I don't take it easy.

Has anyone else had this happen with a knee injury? I hear it's quite common, but the internet research I've done did nothing but scare the hell out of me ... stories of 6 months or longer without change in the hematoma, of it calcifying and needing to be "shaved" off surgically, and of months upon months of delay to getting active again ... all of which left me in tears, vowing NEVER to do that kind of research again!

I'm really frustrated, as I just started getting in shape in early June and was up to trail running for 1-1.25 hours about 4 times per week. I'm scared that without that cardio, I'll gain back the weight I've lost & lose the conditioning I've worked so diligently to build. Ugh ... help!

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I don't know much about knee hematomas, but I know how hard it is to be active and then have to sit around and recover. Positive attitude & staying active are major factors in healing.

Are there exercises you can do without aggravating your knee - like maybe swimming with a pull buoy, or kayaking/canoeing? Both are cardio where your arms are doing all the work.

And don't be afraid to ask your doc about your concerns (recovery time, calcification, etc). He can tell you which complications you're more/less at risk for, and maybe give you some extra info about avoiding them.

Sorry I have no advice for your knee, but I do know what it's like to be injured during your weight loss journey.  I broke my elbow about 4 weeks ago.  Everyone told me that was one of the worst bones to break and I was going to be laid up for a while...I was super disappointed.  Well it's only been 4 weeks my bone is completely healed and I have hardly any pain and am back to normal activity.  They say that exercise can even help speed up healing time.  Of course you do want to be gentle with the injured area.  I am a runner so I know what it's like not to be able to run too!  It hurt so much the first couple of weeks that I wasn't able to run.  The elliptical was ok though, and maybe that would be a good option for you since it doesn't bear so much weight on your knee.  I was also thinking swimming or biking might be better for you too.  I know it doesn't compare to running, but it's better than losing everything you've worked for!  I've found biking can be pretty enjoyable especially if you find some wooded trails and such.  Good luck and I hope you heal quickly!

Thanks for the empathy, guys, I really appreciate it. I'm actually going to my regular doc today & will pick her brain ... maybe get referred back to the ortho in a week or two, if nothing changes. I'm definitely going to give the elliptical a go, but will wait until it's been 2 weeks of solid healing time before I try. Until then, I'm going to try and focus on doing exercise ball exercises for my core & strength training for my upper body. I may even work in some slow walking on the treadmill until I can run again.

Anyone else out there ever dealt with a knee injury?

I had a knee hematoma, too.  Four years ago I was roller blading at a roller rink on a camp trip and I thought I was good at it so I was going fast, and all of a sudden there were a bunch of slow people in front of me, so I tried to stop and ended up doing a half turn and landing really hard on my knee.  It hurt a ton but I kept going because I don't usually care about that sort of thing.

In the next few days it swelled unbelievable and turned beautiful colors and was very sore.  Most interestingly, there was a numb spot about 1 square centimeter in size.  The camp nurses didn't believe me that it was numb and sent me on my way.  The pain and the colors went away after a week or so, and the swelling I think took a bit longer (it was a while ago so I'm not sure).  When I went to the doctor after the summer, they told me it was a hematoma and there was nothing to do about it.

To this day it is numb in that spot.  Otherwise, it's been fine.  As long as you don't have a numb spot, it will probably just resolve itself.  I spent that summer running around doing dance, volleyball, and various camp-like activities, and when I came home I went back to gymnastics - no lasting problems.  I guess follow your doctor's advice and do whatever you feel up to.  I never had any calcification/surgery issues.

Thanks for your input, Amy, I appreciate it! I actually do have a little numb spot, and you can definitely see the hematoma protruding, though the pain & mobility has gotten better since I hurt it 10 days ago. I'll just keep on doing what the doc tells me & hope for the best! Thanks again!

Hi Kitty, I found this discussion googling for hematoma info and I'm wondering how your injury turned out.  I bruised my knee falling off a step two weeks ago, and have a hematoma about the size of my kneecap just below and to the inside of my knee.  I went to the emergency room when I injured it and they found no serious injury.  The way you described your problem sounds a lot like mine.  I saw my GP this week to ask if there's anything to be done about this lump that won't go away, but he just advises waiting.  I hope you can tell me your hematoma went away on its own without complications!  Or maybe point me to any other advice you've found. 

Best of luck with the weight loss / maintenance ... that's something I need to work on too...

Original Post by spectrusery:

I hope you can tell me your hematoma went away on its own without complications!  Or maybe point me to any other advice you've found. 

Best of luck with the weight loss / maintenance ... that's something I need to work on too...

Well, here it is January and my knee has pretty much healed as well as it's going to. I can now completely bend my knee to do a thigh stretch (which I couldn't for about 3 or 4 months), can run on it, squat to lift weights, and anything else I used to do before I hurt it. The only thing I've found painful or difficult is having to put my body weight on my knees for a dance class I'm taking. I've bought soccer knee pads in hopes this will help!

The hematoma itself no longer protrudes, but almost six months later it is still there, flush with the surface of my skin and still purple, only now it will only hurt if I put a lot of pressure on it with my finger, or my body weight as I mentioned above.

I stopped applying a heat then ice combo routine about 3 weeks after I injured it because it didn't really hurt (on it's own, that is, still did to the touch) and it didn't seem to be shrinking the hematoma. Funny enough, that thing started to shrink once I left it alone. Weird.

Thanks for the reply post, and I hope that your injury has healed well and you're able to get back to being physically active. Good luck to you!

I just wanted to inform readers that I am currently a month into my 2nd hematoma on my knee.  The first hematoma I got as a teenager, while in football practice I banged knees with a ball carrier at full speed while tackling him.  There was no noticeable swelling or substantial pain immediately...and then later that night it looked as if I had a 2nd knee and couldnt hardly move it.  The pain was rather excruciating for the first night.  Eventually, after months, the swelling and discoloration went down on its own and returned to normal...so much so, I do not even remember which knee it was on.  The second one I received a month ago in a car accident.  Again, I did not even notice an injury and checked out myself, and was looked at by the paramedics and went home from the crash site with no noticable injuries.  Then a few hours later a large amount of bruising and swelling developed (again a 2nd knee), but this time without much pain when walking on it.  Now a month down the road, the discoloration has disappeared and the swelling has went down substantially, but is nowhere near gone yet.  This time around the swelling was so substantial that it actually split my skin and created an open sore.  This sore then got infected, so I had to get prescription antibiotics, and Im sure it has caused my knee not to heal as well.  I do know from other accounts that after a few months if the swelling is not healing itself the blood with actually harden, and in some cases the body can still absorb it...in a very small amount of cases the crystallized blood will not absorb and the doctor must cut it open and suck out the remaining dried blood.  I hope this helps anyone out there to at least know not to be too scared when the swelling is taking awhile to go down...because it simply does.  I will however note that if you have not been diagonosed with this problem by a doctor, then get checked out...they will not have to do any serious testing to diagnose you with a knee problem...xray, blood test at worse...the reason you should get tested is to ensure you do not have a blood clot in the artery of your leg, because this clot can dislodge, move to your lungs and kill you instantly.  Blood clots developing in the leg is not an uncommon occurance...so get peace of mind!  You will pull your hair out, develop high blood pressure, feel false pains in other areas of your body and stress out in your daily life wondering what could possibly be wrong with you.

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