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How to Treat a Sprained Knee

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Are you increasing the risk of knee sprain?

Introduction

A sprained knee occurs when one or several of our ligaments become overstretched and start to tear. Ligaments function to hold bones together to support movement and stability.

A knee sprain is common with athletes and is a painful injury that may keep you off the training grounds for weeks and, in some cases, even months. Several specific ligaments in the knee joint can become injured and torn, causing a sprain. It comprises the posterior and anterior cruciate ligaments and the medial and lateral collateral ligament.

A knee sprain almost always requires some type of treatment as it can create some complications with time, including arthritis. It requires medical evaluation to determine the severity of the injury and to come up with a treatment plan.

Read along, the most common causes, symptoms, and treatment options available.

Causes for a Knee Sprain

Even though the knee is one of the especially strong joints, its ligaments are susceptible to wear and tear because they connect the two longest bones in our body – the femur and the tibia.

Knee sprains commonly occur during sports with high impact that involve jumping, running, and sudden cutting and pivoting movements. These include soccer, basketball, skiing, volleyball, and more. 

Most knee sprains result from a:

  • A direct hit to the knee from an external force during a car collision, or after a hard fall on your knee
  • Excessive pressure on the knee joint as a result of abrupt movement, twisting, turning, and awkward landing
  • Slightly less common are knee hyperextensions when there is too much weight or pressure that forces the knee into extension

Read on to learn about the most common knee sprain symptoms and how to get rid of stiff joints from the injury.

Knee Sprain Symptoms

Symptoms somewhat depend on the affected ligament. However, some symptoms are almost always present. These include swelling, pain, bruising, muscle spasms, tenderness, buckling, and popping sounds.

In a sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), you can often hear a popping sound when moving the knee joint, and you may feel as if the knee can’t bear your weight properly.

In a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) sprain, you may undergo pain and swell at the back of the knee that gets worse when kneeling.

For lateral and medial collateral ligament (LCL and MCL) sprain, the knee may buckle towards the opposite direction of the trauma. You may also experience tenderness, pain, and swelling in the area of the injury, like with all of the other sprains.

Also, you’ll likely experience decreased mobility and may start accumulating fluid in the knee joint.

Sprained Knee Treatment
  1. Ice. Ice can be beneficial in almost any injury. This is because it alleviates inflammation, thus fighting pain, swelling, and decreased mobility. It may also stop any minor bleeding occurring due to the trauma.

Put an ice pack in the affected area for around 15 minutes every 3-4 hours. However, make sure you’re not overdoing it, especially if you have diabetes. Always make sure you don’t apply the ice directly to the skin as it might damage it.

  1. Rest. Resting is extremely important, especially in the early days following the injury. You have to avoid putting stress on your knee as this may worsen the situation and even increase the damage to the ligaments. 

Avoid any kind of sports and physical activity that puts too much weight on your knee. Additionally, it’s a good idea to elevate your leg to reduce blood circulation to alleviate swelling and pain.

  1. Pain Medication. When you’re suspecting a sprain, it’s always crucial to seek medical attention early. Your doctor will prescribe the best joint pain pills available for you. These will likely include anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin to reduce swelling and ease the pain. If the pain becomes unbearable and debilitating, your doctor may prescribe some stronger meds to help you out.
  1. Compression. To take an extra measure against swelling, you can wrap an elastic bandage around the affected area on your knee. However, make sure you’re not wrapping it too tight, as this can restrict blood circulation and worsen the situation. 
  1. Immobilization. In some cases, your doctor might suggest using a brace to restrict the range of motion and prevent overstretching. The course of therapy will depend on the grade of the ligament tear ranging from mild and moderate injuries to complete or near-complete tears.
A knee brace will protect your Sprained knee from additional damage and improve its stability.
  1. Exercises and Physical Therapy. Exercises and physical therapy are always recommended. Most physiotherapists stick to an exercise plan, where they gradually introduce different stretches and training to support your knee joint. These range from leg lifts, knee bends, raising your toes, thigh and calf stretches, and eventually, weight training.
  1. Surgery. In some cases, if the ligament is severely damaged or torn, you may require surgery. An orthopedist will reattach the ligament if possible or replace it with a different tendon.

After surgery, it will take several months before you can return to your daily activities and sports. You’ll need to go through a specialized physical therapy program to restore your knee joint’s function and muscle mass.

Final Words

A sprained knee can be a debilitating and painful injury that may take a long time to heal completely. Make sure you always stretch and warm-up diligently before working out. 

Further, being knowledgeable about the injury’s specifics will now help you prevent it from happening in the first place.

There are many ways to treat a knee sprain, including rest, immobilization, and ice, but you might need surgery.

Dietary supplements might also benefit a knee sprain. Relief factor is a natural supplement that may fight inflammation and reduce your pain and swelling. Overall, Relief Factor reviews are somewhat positive. Look them up and see if it might be something you’re looking for.

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