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Sudden development of swelling and bruising on the knee cap. Chances of blood clot?

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Oncologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 576 Questions
hello, I had an odd thing happen just a little while ago. Was just walking up the stairs and felt a little sensation over my kneecap. Looked down and it looked like vein over my knee was swollen and was hard to the touch. It lasted a fe minutes and then went down, but looks like some bruising in the area. Just wondering if this is something I should be concerned a clot? Any advice is appreciated.
Posted Fri, 13 Jul 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Rohan Khandelwal 2 hours later
Thanks for writing in.

There could be many possibilities associated with the symptoms you have described.
The chances of getting a blood clot (or DVT - XXXXXXX venous thrombosis) are extremely low at your age unless you are taking any particular medications or suffering from some other illness as well (hypertension, diabetes, raised lipids). Your symptoms don’t match the symptoms usually seen in patients with clots. A clot (or DVT) usually presents as a painful swelling in the calf.
The more likely possibility could be an injury of one of the ligaments or the knee, which you can sustain while walking and it can lead to some bruising afterwards. It the bruising persists and you have pain while walking, I would strongly recommend that you consult an orthopedician and get an MRI done (as that is the best investigation to tell you about the ligaments of the knee).
Another possibility could be varicose veins (dilated, tortous veins), which can sometimes become painful. The best investigation to rule it out is to get a Doppler of the leg. Doppler will also rule out a clot in your leg.

Hope I have addressed your query. Feel free to ask me any more questions.
Hope you get well soon.
Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sudden development of swelling and bruising on the knee cap. Chances of blood clot? 21 hours later
Hi Doctor,

Thanks very much for your response. I really appreciate it. I just found it odd, since there was no real pain associated with it, and do not feel any pain today either, although the area right on top of my kneecap is fairly black and blue (almost like a diagonal line across kneecap, maybe 1/4 + inch in width). The extent of the brusing does seem to vary a bit, depending on if i stand/sit/walk.

In any case, just wanted to add that to my description. I am not on any medications, and do not have any of the conditions that you mentioned (at least not officially... I think I actually may have high blood pressure though).

In any case, would the lack of any noticeable pain or discomfort rule anything in/out? I will definitely mention it during my next physical/visit to the doctor.. but do you think it warrants any immediate action at this point as long as the condition appears to improve and there are no other indications with it?
Answered by Dr. Rohan Khandelwal 9 hours later

Even if the condition is getting better, I still think you should consult a doctor because this condition occured spontaneously and without a history of injury.

Your doctor would get your blood pressure, coagulation profile (tells you about the clotting power of your blood) measured. Sometimes bruises without pain can occur in conditions where blood does not clot easily.

Absence of pain rules out inflammatory condition such as injuries. But the occurrence of the symptoms spontaneously is still concerning. The tests will tell us more about it. Consult your doctor at the earliest.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more concerns.

Get well soon.

Take care
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