A knee sprain is a joint
injury that causes a stretch or tear in one or more of the knee ligaments. A
sprain can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the amount of damage to
the ligament. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to
another. The knee joint is held together by the cruciate and collateral
How does it occur?
A knee sprain most often occurs while playing
sports, but can occur during falling or twisting accidents. Collateral
ligaments are usually injured when hit by a force on the side opposite the
ligament. The cruciate ligaments can be injured by sudden twisting movements or
from being hit directly.
What are the
There is usually pain and a popping sound at the time of the
injury. The knee may immediately start to swell or the swelling may be
gradual.How is it diagnosed? Your provider will examine the knee by
moving it in different ways. It may be necessary to have an MRI or an X-ray
How is it
Treatment includes the following:
Put an ice pack on your knee
for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 or 3 days or until the
pain goes away.
Keep your knee elevated
whenever possible by placing a pillow underneath it until the swelling
Take an anti-inflammatory
medicine or other drugs prescribed by your health care provider.
After the knee pain goes away, you will probably need to do
exercises given to you by your health care provider or physical therapist for
Your provider may also recommend that you:
Wrap an elastic bandage around
your knee to keep the swelling from getting worse.
Use a knee immobilizer
initially to protect the knee.
Usually surgery is not needed. If you have a complete ligament
tear or if several ligaments are injured at one time, surgery may be necessary.
long will it take to get better?
If you start participating in sports or other activities before
you have completely recovered, you may worsen your injury which could lead to
permanent damage. Everyone recovers from injury at a different rate. Follow
your health care provider's instructions and advice. In general, the longer you
have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get
If you've had surgery, wait to return to sports or other
activities until your provider has told you that you can safely return.
can I prevent a knee sprain?
Unfortunately, most knee sprains occur during accidents that are
not preventable. However, you may be able to avoid these injuries by having
strong thigh and hamstring muscles and maintaining a good leg stretching