What is a knee sprain?

A sprain is an injury to a ligament that develops due to overstretching. A ligament is a band of tough tissue that holds bones together. Four ligaments are important in maintaining the stability and function of the knee joint, the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments. Knee and ankle sprains are among the most common types of sprains that occur in the body.

Knee Sprain Spotlight

A knee sprain typically occurs as a result of trauma, and sports injuries are one of the most common causes of knee sprain. The ligament may tear, either partially or completely, when it is excessively stretched. Symptoms may vary in severity and include pain and swelling along with an inability or decreased ability to move the knee joint. Some people report that they hear a popping noise at the time of the injury.

Many cases of knee sprain can be treated at home with rest, ice packs, and over-the-counter pain relief medications. More-serious cases may require treatment with a brace or other device to help you keep the knee immobilized. If a ligament is completely torn, surgery may be needed to repair the knee joint.

A knee sprain is rarely a serious injury that would require emergency care. However, it may be associated with more-serious injuries. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as paralysis, loss of sensation, absent pulses in the feet, the inability to move the knee joint, severe bleeding, or uncontrollable pain.

Seek prompt medical care if you have any pain, soreness, or other problems with your knee, or if you are being treated for a knee injury and symptoms recur or are persistent.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of a knee sprain?

Symptoms of knee sprain begin following the injury and may be mild or severe.... Read more about knee sprainsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes a knee sprain?

Knee sprain is caused by an injury to the knee joint that results in one or more of the ligaments of the joint being stretched excessively. Sports and activities that may involve stress or twisting of the knee joint, including downhill skiing, football, and basketball, may increase your risk of sustaining a knee sprain. A knee sprain can also result from a blow to the knee or from a fall in which you land on your knees.... Read more about knee spraincauses

TREATMENTS

How is a knee sprain treated?

Many cases of knee sprain can be treated at home with rest, ice packs, and over-the-counter pain relief medications. More-serious cases may require treatment with a brace or other device to help you keep the knee immobilized. In some cases, a combination of these methods will be used by your treatment team. Knee sprains are treatable, and it is important to exactly follow the treatment plan that your health care team has designed specifically for your injury.... Read more about knee spraintreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles


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