A knee sprain is when a force pushes the bones of the knee apart. If the force is strong enough, the ligament comes apart. This can happen from things like:
- Forced twisting of the knee
- A sudden change in direction
- A misstep that causes a sudden strain at a joint
- An impact with an object or another person
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked how the injury happened. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the knee.
It can be hard to tell a sprain from a fracture or dislocation. Pictures may be taken. This can be done with:
- MRI scan
The doctor may need to view the inside of the knee. This can be done with a minimally invasive procedure called an arthroscopy .
|Sprain of Knee|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Treatment will depend on the joint and how severe the injury is. The goal of treatment is to ease pain and improve movement. Choices are:
- Supportive care, such as rest, ice, a compression bandage, and raising the knee to ease pain and swelling
- Medicine, such as over the counter pain relievers
- Supportive devices, such as a brace or crutches
- Physical therapy to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
Some people may need surgery to repair a ligament that is torn.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services
All rights reserved.
a (Sprain, Knee)
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2015;(6):CD007402.
Donnell-Fink LA, Klara K, Collins JE, et al. Effectiveness of knee injury and anterior cruciate ligament tear prevention programs: A meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(12):e0144063. Available at : http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144063. Accessed June 2, 2016.
Lowe WR, Warth RJ, Davis EP, Baily L. Functional bracing after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a systematic review. J Am Acad Ortho Surg.2017;25(3):239-249
Roth J, Taylor DC. Management of acute isolated medial and posteromedial instability of the knee. Sports Med Arthroscopy Rev.2015;23(2):71-76.
Sprains and strains. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases—National Institutes of Health website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/sprains-and-strains. Accessed October 14, 2020.
Sprains, strains and other soft-tissue injuries. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111. Accessed October 14, 2020.
Sugimoto D, Myer GD, et al. ABCs of evidence-based anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention strategies in female athletes. Current Phys Med Rehabil Rep. 2015;3(1):43-49.
Topical NSAIDs. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/drug-review/topical-nsaids . Accessed October 12, 2020.