Jock Doc

I have a bone bruise from playing basketball. How long before I can play again?

Baylor forward Lauren Cox (15) yells as she holds her left knee, during the second half of the Final Four championship game of the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament against Notre Dame, Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Baylor forward Lauren Cox (15) yells as she holds her left knee, during the second half of the Final Four championship game of the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament against Notre Dame, Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) AP

Q. I was playing basketball last week, fell on my left knee and had to stop playing due to pain. That night, my knee swelled and it has remained swollen.

I saw my physician, who ordered an MRI. The MRI showed I had a bone bruise. The doctor instructed me to rest. How long till the pain and swelling go away and when do you think I can play again?

A. A bone bruise or “stress reaction” is a micro fracture of bone resulting in pain, swelling and limited range of motion.

There are several mechanisms of injury that result in bone bruises including direct trauma, a ligament tear with instability or overuse that exceeds the structural support of the affected bone.

About a third of the time, X-rays reveal the injury but usually an MRI scan is necessary to confirm the diagnosis and the degree of the bone bruise. Direct blows from a fall, such as yours, can take a few days to two months until you are able to go back to sports.

A return to sports from bone bruises due to the other causes depends upon the mechanism of injury, degree of injury and which bone is involved.

I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon who can more accurately give you an exact diagnosis and a timetable to feel better and return to competition.

  Comments