What is a knee sprain?
A knee sprain occurs when ligaments within or around the knee are stretched and torn. The severity of a knee sprain is determined by the degree of injury to the ligaments:
- In a mild, or first-degree sprain, the stretched ligaments cause pain and swelling
- In a moderate, or second-degree sprain, mild tears of the ligaments create instability in the knee joint; it is more disabling than a mild sprain
- In a severe, or third-degree sprain, there is a compete rupture of the ligaments, often requiring surgical repair
What causes a knee sprain?
Knee ligaments may be injured during athletic or occupational activities involving sudden force. Knee sprains may be caused by:
- Forced twisting of the knee
- Stopping suddenly while running
- Shifting your weight while running or skiing
- Landing awkwardly after jumping
- A blow to the outer or inner side of the knee
- A blow to the front of the knee while the knee is bent and the foot is firmly planted on the ground
What are the symptoms of a knee sprain?
Symptoms of a knee sprain depend on the location and severity of the knee ligaments damaged. Some symptoms may include the following:
- Stiffness or decreased movement
- Pain or tenderness
- Painful pop that you can hear or feel
- Swelling or bruising
- Knee that buckles or gives out when you try to walk
How is a knee sprain diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. The range of motion in your knee will be evaluated and assessed for stability. X-rays and MRI scans may also be done to confirm an injury. In some cases, arthroscopy (a minimally invasive procedure) may be performed to look inside your knee.
How is a sprain treated?
Depending on the severity of your sprain, your physician may prescribe exercise, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and/or cortisone injections. Supportive braces may need to be worn to allow your ligaments to heal. In cases that don’t respond to other care, surgery may be required.
The experts at Summit Orthopedics provide lacrosse injury prevention tips in their QUICKGuide to prevent injuries and stay safe during the sport.
Cycling for Kids QUICKGuide
Winning the helmet battle Although kids rarely pay attention to statistics, here’s one as a parent you’ll want to know: a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85%. We know it can be a challenge to get kids to wear helmets,… Read More.
The experts at Summit Orthopedics provide hockey injury prevention tips in their QUICKGuide to prevent injuries and stay safe during the sport.