Recovering from a Knee Bruise... Advice?

I bruised my kneecap pretty good on Tue, Jun 7, and that night during my trainer workout the knee pain was horrendous. I somehow finished the ride but was limping and in pain for awhile afterward. I proceeded to take that Wednesday off, not doing my intended strength session. Thursday I went for a 4hr gravel ride, at the start of which, the knee was painful, but over the course of the session it numbed significantly. At this point I still couldn’t stand up while riding without pain. I didn’t ride Friday so I could try and heal up, so Saturday I went for another 4hr gravel ride. During that ride the knee pain almost disappeared, and over the course of the ride I was able to stand up for progressively longer and longer intervals.

At this point I thought I was fine, since it had gotten better, so I assumed that my day off on Sunday would see me mostly healed up. Then Monday, Jun 13 rolls around and I have a 3hr session planned. The knee was pain free at the start of the workout, but I could start to feel a little niggle coming in after about 45mins. Hoping that it was just a minor issue, I went into my planned 20min threshold effort. After that effort, the knee felt even worse, and I ended up cutting the session short at 2.5hrs. At this point, the knee felt better than it had on the previous Tuesday. At this point I’m trying to figure out how to heal up without losing too much fitness, since my next race is 6 weeks away and I have hopes of winning if I’m in shape.

Currently my plan is to take three days off, and then see what it feels like on Saturday, Jun 18, then take Sunday off and try and go at my planned training starting Monday, Jun 20. However, I’ve never had a bruise like this before, so I don’t know if this is feasible or if I need longer to recover. My backup plan is to take a week off if the three days doesn’t do it, then go back to training, while keeping it mostly outdoors, since the rides where the pain has been greatest is the indoor rides. I think this may be because the trainer has zero cushion, whereas outdoors the tires and softer surface provide a little bit of protection.

With all that said, I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this, and if so what they did to recover etc. I’m really trying to avoid any breaks longer than a week since I really want to keep my fitness where it’s at since this has been my best year so far, and it’s also my last chance to race the NICA series, so a good result is super high on my goals.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated!

You went for a 4hr ride two days after a pain injury? Knee injuries are the worst as you get older so take care of them and rest. Go see a doctor if you think the ligaments are affected (you can’t bend it fully etc).

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I have full range of motion, and there is only pain when under heavy(ish) load, so I think the ligaments are ok.