Sounds like a staph infex. Might look like it's fading, but it could be smoldering waiting to flare again. Go see the doc. Don't put back on that suit til you know what you're dealing with. Staph can kill.
Last year there was news about some high school team that was getting staph from their equipment. It was bad.
This sounds like cellulitis, which is a skin infection that reaches a few layers deep and just reaches the tissue underneath the skin. Most commonly it's caused by strep or staph. Staph usually is the one that produces more pus, strep will cause a hot red swelling with tense skin. Both bacteria live on your skin normally, and they usually don't do much besides take up space and prevent more dangerous bacteria from moving in. Sometimes they can cause problems when there's a small break in your skin (probably wouldn't even notice it, and friction from a wetsuit can cause a small break) and then maybe they'll cause an infection like the one you described.
Don't destroy your wetsuit, and definitely don't wash it in bleach if you want to wear it again. It's easy to kill bacteria on a surface, just put some soap on it and let it soak in a tub, inside it out and let it dry. Most probably the bacteria causing this is living on your knee, not your wetsuit's knee.
The most common bacteria causing this are staph and strep, but there are some other bacteria that are known to cause cellulitis after soaking in sea water or fresh water. They're Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Aeromonas hydrophila, and Vibrio vulnificus. Pseudomonas at least can be much more serious (and maybe was the thing that caused a black hole in another poster's leg), and your infection sounds more classic, so it might have been just strep or staph.
Finally, I'm not sure which antibiotic is the most optimal for your cellulitis. If it cleared with cipro, but then came back, you might want to switch antibiotics. Cipro isn't the first line of antibiotics used for cellulitis, so if it's still there, or gone but comes back a third time I would go to the doctor to get the right one for the job. Also, like people have already said on here, don't wait to go to the doctor if it comes up again on your knee because it has the potential to get complicated. It's so much easier to treat at the beginning, and if you wait until you get a fever from it, they might try and admit you to the hospital for IV antibiotics, which is not something you're going to want to pay for out of pocket.
After an early October swell, I developed a skin infection at the top of my knee. At first it seemed like a big pimple. The condition worsened markedly, spreading across the top and bottom of my knee, becoming increasingly swollen, painful, and eventually fever inducing.
Reduced drinking and my remaining Nicaraguan antibiotics knocked it out over a couple of weeks. All systems go.
Fast forward to last weekend, after surfing a lil' windswell, I woke up to red marks signaling the return of the infection (same spot). Luckily, this time it got better before it got much worse...
Have you guys had any experiences with a wetsuit causing an infection? I'm guessing it's in the suit as it happened in the same spot. Should I just get a bottle of piss-off? The diver's forums recommend everything from lysol to bleach mixtures, but I know they are idiots, unlike you guys.
Oh, feel free to discuss any other contracted infections here too.
Coming to the SI Forum for medical advice regarding a possible life-threatening infection is, perhaps, not your best bet to ensure survivability.
I know it might not be relevant, because he probably doesn't have a 'puny weak immune system' like me... but is there anything in your father's case that should make me consider otherwise?
not especially, beyond the fact that today, at 67 years of age, he still one of the most singularly healthy human beings i have ever encountered. the man just does not get sick. colds bounce off him & the flu just give him a case of the sniffles.
we were in panama for a surf trip when the infection began in a wound he got from hitting the reef. we attacked it aggressively w/ prescription anti-biotic cream & kept it dry & covered when he was out of the water. that seemed to keep it at bay for the remainder of the trip, but it flared back up w/ a vengeance when we got home & ate all the cartilage in the joint. he ended up landing in the hospital for a few days & taking antibiotics for months, then once the infection was fully licked some funky injections to keep the knee lubricated while he strengthened his leg muscles back up enough to under go the replacement procedure.
moral of the story, it might be getting better, but i'd still recommend going to see your dr. MRSA sucks.