I hurt my knee 3 weeks ago. I squatted down looking for something (so my knees were fully bent in a "bunny hop position") and felt discomfort near to my knee cap.
After this it hurt a little to sometimes walk down stairs and it also hurt if I squatted down so my upper legs were just above parallel to the ground. Walking around was fine, and I could jog on the spot. The pain was not a sharp pain, more an ache.
This pain went away after a week and I went to athletics which I really enjoy doing. Nothing hurt during the training session or directly after, and I thought I was fine. I finished training around 8pm, and by 10pm I could feel slight soreness in the muscle near to my knee cap, directly above where the orginal injury was. This soreness got worse the next day (all of my legs were sore, but this was more DOMS from the running as I had it in the other leg - but the soreness near the injury was more severe and not present in the other leg). So all this was two weeks ago.
After about 5-7 days (so around a week ago from today) the soreness in the muscle went. The knee however didn't feel right and there was a lot of creaking and clicking in the joint. I don't seem to have any pain in the joint.
I saw a Physio a day ago who said it is likely damage to the cartilage behind the knee - hence the creaking noise and it not feeling right. She gave me some exercises to to at home, such as leg raises and I'm seeing her again next week. She said for the injury it's usually 5-6 weeks before back to how the knee was, so she said another week or two and I should be getting there. She also said I can lightly jog on it if it doesn't hurt. Her reasoning was that new cells are forming and we want to prepare them for the activities and stresses etc. I went for a light jog yesterday which went okay, although near the end I had a slight ache in my knee so stopped.
I believe the physio is probably right with saying it is cartilage damage behind the knee - the noise does seem to come from there and the knee movement is not smooth. I am a little unsure regarding the timings of being fully better and also about the formation of new cells - does that sound right to physios on here??? I have been researching and a lot of places I look seem to say cartilage doesn't repair itself much, and if it does it is really slow? And I thought cartilage is hard tissue which protects the bones - so is this stuff about preparing the cells etc true? Or do people think such an injury will takes ages to recovery from, or won't get better at all as cartilage damage doesn't recover?
Sorry for the long post - trying to give as much detail as poss. I am really into my athletics, and this injury is really depressing me as I'm obviously not training and unsure when roughly I may be able to train again!