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


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 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

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Current Concepts in Hip Surgery 
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Shoulder & Elbow Problems
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