Knee Sprain

Knee sprains happen when the tissues that connect and support bones around the joint stretch or tear.

What Is a Knee Sprain?

Knee sprains can be serious injuries that occur from a stretch or tear of the ligaments in and around the knee.

Ligaments are string-like bands of tissue that connect your bones and create stability for the joint.

There are four main ligaments of the knee that most often are damaged. They are:

  • Anterior Cruciate (ACL)
  • Posterior Cruciate (PCL)
  • Medial Collateral (MCL)
  • Lateral Collateral (LCL)

The ACL and PCL are located inside the knee joint. The MCL and LCL are located on the sides of the knee joint.


What Causes a Knee Sprain?

  • Knee sprains can be caused by non-contact twisting of the knee.
  • A direct blow to the knee.

What Are the Symptoms of a Knee Sprain?

  • Immediate pain in the knee after a direct blow or twist.
  • Pain with movement or activity in the knee.
  • Swelling in the knee.
  • Walking with a limp or a feeling that the knee is going to “give out” with standing and walking.
  • The feeling of a “pop” or “snap” felt in the knee when the injury occurred.

What Can I Do to Feel Better?

  • Rest. Do not do things that cause pain.
  • Ice for 15-20 minutes at a time will help decrease swelling and pain.
  • Compression can be helpful to decrease swelling and pain.
  • Elevation. Prop the leg up so that the knee is higher than the heart.
  • If walking is painful, crutches are often recommended to allow for optimal healing.

When Should I See a Medical Professional?

  • If rest, ice, compression and elevation are not improving the condition.
  • If you are unable to put weight on your leg.
  • If you are unsure about the severity of the condition.
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