Knee Sprain

Knee Sprain

What is it?

Knee ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones to each other in the joint. A knee sprain occurs when these ligaments stretch or tear.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Knee sprains are caused by unusual stress on or by a forceful blow to the front or outside of the knee, which may occur, for example, by:

  • Landing awkwardly after jumping
  • Stopping suddenly or shifting weight during a physical activity

Symptoms of knee sprains include:

  • Pain in the knee
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Reduced knee motion
  • Weakness in the affected leg

People at particular risk of knee sprains:

  • Play contact or participate in extreme sports
  • Have poor balance
  • Lack muscle strength
  • Have tight ligaments 
  • Have loose joints

Tests

A doctor will diagnose a knee sprain by examining the knee, reviewing symptoms and medical history and conducting imaging tests, such as X-rays or an MRI. There are three grades of knee sprains according to the damage to the ligaments. The grades are:

  • Grade 1 - Stretching or tiny tears in the knee ligament
  • Grade 2 - Partial tearing of the ligament with minor joint instability
  • Grade 3 - Severe or complete tearing of ligament tissue with considerable joint instability

Treatments

Treatments for knee sprains include:

  • Resting the leg
  • Icing the knee
  • Compressing the knee by wrapping it with an elastic bandage
  • Elevating the leg above heart level
  • Immobilizing the knee
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication

Have Questions?

Call St. Luke's
Orthopaedic Specialists

Allentown,
Bethlehem,
Easton,
Wind Gap:
484-526-1735

Tamaqua:
570-645-1835

Phillipsburg:
908-859-8884

Quakertown:
267-424-8850

LEARN MORE

Watch the following
Talk With Your Doctor
television programs:

Current Concepts in Hip Surgery 
(Drs. De Long, Gibson)

Sports Medicine 
(Dr. Carolan, John Graham)

Knee Injuries
(Drs. Avallone, Carolan, Gibson)

Care of the Elite Athlete
(Dr. Heckman & The Parkettes)

Shoulder & Elbow Problems
(Drs. Carolan, Gibson, Heckman)