What Are The Risk Factors For A Knee Sprain
A number of factors increase the risk of knee sprain. Not all people with risk factors will get knee sprain. Risk factors for knee injury include:
- Occupational activities that expose the knee to risk of injury
- Participation in certain sports, particularly that involve stress or twisting of the knee joint such as downhill skiing
- Previous knee injury
Precaution With A Sprained Knee
A knee sprain is a serious injury that can affect any of the many knee ligaments. If you have suffered a mild sprain then home treatments are a great option to manage the pain and swelling. However, if you have a moderate to severe sprain then youll need to seek medical treatment from a healthcare professional. Always talk to your doctor before you begin treatment to ensure that you are on the right path to a fast and successful recovery.
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What Are The Signs Of A Bruised Knee
Symptoms of a bruised knee Symptoms of a bruised knee include instant pain at the time of injury. You may have some swelling on and around the knee. Bruising may develop over the following 24 hours. The area will be tender to touch. If you have suffered a blow to the outside of your knee then you may experience numbness, pins and needles in the lower leg.
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Important: If You Feel Your Injury Is Significant You Could Have A Grade 2 Or Grade 3 Sprain You Should See A Medical Professional As Soon As Possible Such As A Doctor Of Physical Therapy They Can Perform Tests To Determine The Extent Of The Sprain And Direct You On The Right Course Of Treatment
In most cases physical therapists will be able to help you on the best path to recovery, recommend a brace, or refer you to an orthopedic physician if imaging testing or casting is necessary. This helps you avoid costly imaging tests or medical procedures, if not needed.
Every ankle sprain or knee sprain has three phases of recovery. While healing takes between two weeks and two months, there is no magic formula for making the process go faster. However, systematically moving through these phases allows the joint to heal properly and reduces the likelihood of re-injuring the joint.
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The Injured Knee Ligament
Ligaments are tough bands of tissue. They stabilize our joints and keep our bones together. Our knees have many ligaments. But, four are prone to tears:
Anterior cruciate ligament
This ligament often sprains during sports. Most cases happen after twisting the knee or changing directions. Thus, ACL sprains are common in running and contact sports.
Most of these sprains are severe. So, the recovery tends to be the longest from 4 to 18 months. This period includes surgery and sports-specific physical therapy.
Posterior cruciate ligament
This ligament is twice as strong as the ACL, so PCL sprains are less common. They happen after an extreme force pushes the shin bone with the knee bent.
PCL sprains can happen during car accidents if the dashboard pushes into the bent knee. They can also happen after falling on your knees.
They can take up to 9 months to recover. The treatment is conservative most of the time.
Medial collateral ligament
This ligament is on the inner side of the knee. It can get sprained if the knee bends suddenly inward. Like when running and changing directions.
MCL sprains are common in sports settings. So, most MCL injuries can involve other knee structures. Like the ACL and/or the medial meniscus.
Mild and isolated MCL sprains can take 4-6 weeks to heal. They can take longer depending on the severity and other structures affected.
Lateral collateral ligament
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How Do I Know If I Sprained My Knee
A knee sprain is a common injury that occurs when one of your four major knee ligaments stretches too far or partially tears. This is often a sports-related injury.
The four ligaments are the anterior cruciate ligament , posterior cruciate ligament , medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament , which work together to stabilize your knee joint. The ACL and PCL form an X as they cross each other inside your knee and work together to control the back and forth motion of your knee. The ACL is in the middle of your knee and is responsible for keeping the tibia from sliding in front of the femur . The PCL runs down the back of your knee and prevents the tibia from sliding behind the femur. Your MCL is on the inside of your knee. This ligament makes sure your femur does not swing too far outward. The LCL is across from the MCL on the outside of the knee and also controls the femurs side to side movement.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Knee Sprain
If you sprain your knee, youll immediately feel a sharp pain. Sometimes a knee sprain will be accompanied by a popping sound that youll be able to hear or feel. Depending on the severity of the sprain, the pain can be so significant that youll struggle to walk or place weight on the affected leg. After the initial sprain, symptoms include:
- Stiffness or decreased movement
- Giving out or buckling when trying to walk or place weight on the leg
- An area of tenderness over the torn ligament
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Why Are Knee Sprains So Common
Compared to other joints in your body, the knee joint is fairly vulnerable. It is a modified hinge joint, with your femur resting on top of you lower legs bones . Your knee cap which you can feel on the front of your knee is called your patella and is held in place by muscles on the top and bottom.
The groove that your femur sits and rotates in however is not very deep. Instead of being a ball and socket joint like your hip, the end of your femur bone sits in between a mesh of soft tissue and the top of your tibia. This is why the knee is referred to as a compound joint as well. Instead of being able to flex and extend your knee joint you can also rotate it inwards and outwards.
This ability to rotate the joint and the open groove means the whole area is open to movement. The only thing that stops your knee dislocating isnt the bone or joint itself but the pattern of the tough ligaments running around the joint.
Knee Sprain Recovery Time
The recovery time for a knee sprain depends entirely on the severity of the injury and the subsequent rehabilitation or surgical needs. Typically, a grade 1 knee sprain or a grade 2 knee sprain involving the MCL or LCL will heal in 2 to 4 weeks. More severe sprains or injuries involving the other ligaments may take anywhere from 4 months to an entire year.
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Overview Of An Mcl Sprain
If your MCL is overextended or overtaxed, then the ligament can become sprained or torn. This injury commonly occurs while participating in sports and is usually caused by twisting, cutting, or bending movements. Additionally, a blow or tackle to the outside of the knee can also cause this condition.
An MCL sprain can cause several different symptoms, including:
- Buckling, instability, or giving way of the leg
- Pain on the inner portion of the knee
- Warmth, redness, or swelling in the joint
- Difficulty fully straightening or bending the knee
Typically, your doctor will use the following classification scale to diagnose this injury:
- Grade 1: A mild sprain causing local tenderness, but not notable instability on the inside of the knee
- Grade 2: A partial tear to the MCL, with more diffuse pain in the knee and some instability at the joint
- Grade 3: A complete tear of the MCL, with marked instability during valgus stresses
An MCL sprain is a significant injury that can dramatically limit your ability to play sports or go about your daily life. But, fortunately, there are treatment options that can get you back to feeling like yourself.
What Causes A Knee Sprain
A sudden twisting of the knee joint may cause a knee sprain. This may happen when you run, jump, and land, or stop or change direction suddenly. Knee sprains commonly occur during physical activity but can occasionally happen at other times. Physical activities that place pressure on your knee joints and ligaments are the most likely to cause a sprain. Common activities for knee sprains include football, basketball, hockey, skiing, and wrestling.
Direct hits to the knee may also cause a sprain. Sprains may be caused by hits to the front, sides, or back of the knee. This type of sprain can happen with an unexpected tumble or a bump into a metal object, wall, or strong piece of furniture. If you fall while your knee is bent, for instance, falling down the stairs or slipping on a piece of ice, a sprain can occur. Car accidents are another situation where knee sprains occur, as your legs are bent while driving or riding in a car.
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Causes Of Knee Sprains
Any activity that forces your knee out of its natural position can cause a sprain.
The ACL is often injured when you play a running or contact sport like soccer, basketball, football, or gymnastics, usually as a result of jumping or twisting suddenly.
It can also occur if you over-straighten your knee to an extreme degree or if you get struck by something in the knee or lower leg.
The PCL can be injured in a car collision when your knee hits the dashboard, or in a sport where the front of your knee is hit while its bent. Falling hard on your knee can also cause a PCL sprain.
You can sprain your LCL if you receive a blow to the inside of your knee. This is less common than the other types of sprains because your other leg protects this area.
An MCL sprain is usually caused by something hitting your leg from the side, or a fall that causes your lower leg to twist outward from your thigh.
Should I See A Doctor For Knee Sprain Treatment
If you suspect you have sprained your knee, try and restrict movement and physical activity. Its recommended that you ice your knee in intervals of 15 to 20 minutes to combat swelling. Within a day or so of your injury, youll have a good idea how severe your sprain is based on the pain and discomfort you feel trying to move. If the pain is still intense and youre struggling to move around, youll want to see a healthcare provider to determine the severity of the injury and to make sure you didnt tear one of your knee ligaments.
Your healthcare provider will examine your injured knee and check for swelling, tenderness, discoloration, and fluid inside the knee joint, among other symptoms. He or she may also test your range of motion and the strength of your ligaments. To determine the source of a more severe injury, your physician may order additional diagnostic tests. The initial visit will likely entail and exam of the knee and x-rays. If there is a concern for significant ligament or cartilage injury, you will be referred on to an orthopedist and may ultimately need an MRI.
Grade 3 knee sprains or sprains involving damage to multiple ligaments will likely require surgery. This may involve the reconstruction of one or more ligaments using tissue from you or a donor.
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Knee Sprain And Other Very Common Sports Injuries
The healthy trend has meant a change in the lifestyle of society. Over the years, people have become aware of the importance of doing some kind of sport. For this reason, more and more people are beginning to exercise on their own. Playing sports is healthy, but if it is not done following the guidelines or recommendations of a specialist, it can negatively affect our physical health. One of the consequences is suffering sports injuries, such as a knee or ankle sprain.
Today we are going to analyze which are the most common sports injuries and their symptoms.
Common Causes Of Knee Sprains Include:
- Hyperextending the knee. When you kick or straighten your leg, if the lower leg moves past its normal range of motion for the knee joint, you may damage your ACL. The same effect can be caused by something hitting your knee hard, pushing it backward while your lower leg remains planted and straight . Hyperextension can also happen if someone kicks your lower leg or something strikes you in the calf from behind.
- Impact forces to the outside of the knee. Sideways blows from tackles, or being struck by a moving object, can cause MCL sprains for example, if youre kicked in the outside of the leg or hit by a car while crossing the street. Hard falls may also cause damage.
- Pivots and twists. When your feet are planted, any sudden changes in direction can sprain or wrench the ACL or MCL.
- Bad landings. Landing awkwardly after a jump can sprain the ACL. Skiers, ski jumpers, and basketball players often sustain this type of knee sprain.
- Falls and accidents. Any sort of impact from falling can wrench, twist, or strike the knee with a great deal of force, damaging any of the four ligaments.
Are any of these common knee sprain causes likely to affect you? Possibly, if you have the risk factors.
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What Increases My Risk For A Knee Sprain
Theres no way to completely avoid the possibility of spraining your knee. Sometimes a knee sprain will be unavoidable based on the sharp movement or blow to your knee. Some people are more prone to this injury than others, depending on their physical shape and their flexibility. If a person sprains their knee once, they have an increased risk of doing it again.
There are some precautions people can take to lower the risk of a knee sprain, including:
- Wearing sturdy shoes.
- Warming up and stretching thoroughly before exercising.
- Warming down after an exercise.
- Avoiding a sudden increase in exercise. Try gradually ramping up your exercise to avoid placing too much pressure on your knee. For instance, instead of breaking into a spring, start with walking, then jogging, then sprinting.
- Stay in good physical shape. Keep your core and glutes and leg muscles strong
A Pharmacist Can Help With Sprains And Strains
Speak to a pharmacist about the best treatment for you. They might suggest tablets, or a cream or gel you rub on the skin.
If needed, you can take ibuprofen tablets, capsules or syrup that you swallow.
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Treatment For A Grade Iii Knee Sprain
A Grade III sprain means youve torn one or more ligaments entirely. Your knee cannot support weight. Youll experience a good deal of swelling, some bruising, and possibly some bleeding beneath the skin.
- RICE, bracing, NSAIDs, and sports medicine all have their time and place, but because youve severed a ligament, seeing a doctor is imperative to make sure you heal properly .
- See a physician. With severe ligament tears and ruptures like this, you need stabilize the knee and keep weight off it for up to four months. A hinged knee brace can help with this. A physician can make an equipment recommendation and explain to you how often to wear the brace, and for how long.
- In many cases, the ligament may require arthroscopic surgery to reconstruct, mend, or reattach the ligament.
If you see an orthopedic physician promptly and treat the ligament injury properly, completing all prescribed physical therapy and rehab, the prognosis is excellent. You should be able to get back to playing sports within a few months.
Contact Coastal Orthopedics if you or a loved on has questions or concerns about a knee sprain to scheduled an appointment today at 994-1166.