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What Happens When You Sprain Your Knee

How Can Knee Sprains Be Prevented

ACL Tear – Testing Your Knee BEFORE it Happens!

Your knee is delicate, so you should be careful when it comes to any physical activities that cause pain. All too often people try and continue their normal routine without letting the injury heal first which can end up causing more problems later on down the line.

To avoid injury it is important to address a knee sprain early and follow your doctor’s instructions. It can be difficult but by taking proper care of yourself you will find that the recovery process is much easier than if left untreated.

The beauty of your body’s ability to self-repair most injuries cannot be underestimated however, certain things require a little extra care for them not only to get better but stay healed as well.

The last thing anyone wants is an injured joint or ligament flaring back up because they did something thoughtless after healing from another sprain or tear earlier in life!

It’s important to know the severity of your injury and what type of treatment you may need so that you can make an informed decision about how much time it will take for your knee sprain to heal.

Please contact your doctor immediately if you’re suffering from pain or discomfort following a run or a game of basketball! To assess your injuries with x-rays and diagnose them accordingly.

No matter what you’re going through at this moment, don’t forget that it’s never too late for some targeted exercises and stretches.

Recovery From A Knee Strain Or Sprain

It is important to work with your physician closely before you return to your everyday routine. When recovered, you should be able to perform simple exercises such as squatting, running, side to side motions and jumping without pain.

A mild sprain is healed after six weeks of resting and treating the knee. A severe strain or sprain can take as long as three to four months. The exact recovery time will depend on the treatment plan that your doctor and physical therapist recommend for you as well as the nature of the injury.

Which Areas Are Of The Body Are Most At

Sprains occur in both the lower and upper parts of our body. However, the three most common at-risk areas are:

  • Ankle: An ankle sprain occurs when the foot turns inward during a run, jump, or similar activity.
  • Sprained Knee or MCL Sprain: This type of sprain happens when you sustain a blow to your knee due to a direct impact or fall.
  • Sprained Wrist: Such a sprain takes place when you sustain a fall or impact that has an immediate effect on your wrist.

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Prevention Of A Knee Sprain

There are a few preventive measures to reduce your risk of a knee sprain.

  • Ensure that you warm up or stretch before starting any physical activity or sports.
  • Ensure that you follow the proper technique for sports and exercises to decrease stress on your muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Make sure that you wear proper protective equipment during sports activities.
  • Take a break from sports when you get tired.

Knee Strain Or Sprain Diagnosis

Guido Geutjens

When diagnosing a possible knee sprain or strain, your doctor will ask about how the pain started, including whether the pain started immediately following in injury, or developed gradually over time.

Your doctor will also examine the affected knee, looking for:

  • Swelling

Your doctor may recommend the following imaging procedures as well:

  • X-ray
  • Arthroscopy

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You Cant Straighten Your Knee Or Leg

If you have trouble straightening your leg or it hurts to do so, you probably have a serious knee injury.

To test this, start in a seated position and try to lift your lower leg using your own leg muscles. You may still be able to bear weight and walk slowly and carefully without assistance, but will probably require assistance to lift your lower leg and fully extend your injured knee, says Dr. Brown.

Patella fractures, quadriceps tendon tears, and patellar tendon tears all tend to be associated with an inability to straighten the leg.

Use a knee immobilizer to hold the knee in a straight position and help with pain relief. This also makes it easier to move about until your appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, he adds.

Another test is to lie down and try to straighten your leg. The goal is to get your knee to lie flat. This might be difficult or impossible to do due to the pain, but what you should watch out for is a total inability to straighten your knee.

Some of the problems that could cause a locked knee include meniscus tears or a torn ACL. The key is to determine whether you cant straighten your knee due to sheer pain or physical blockage. If you feel blocked, then we recommend getting in touch with a doctor sooner rather than later.

On the flip side, you might have trouble bending your knee. If your knee feels stuck in any way, and the feeling doesnt go away within a few hours, you could be experiencing something more severe.

Who Is At Risk For Sprains

Anyone can be at risk for a sprain. A sprain can happen to both the young and old, as well as the athletic and those doing typical daily activities. You may be at an increased risk if:

  • You have a history of sprains
  • You are in poor physical condition or are overweight.
  • You participate in a lot of physical activity that happens on uneven surfaces.
  • You are fatigued tired muscles are less likely to provide good support.

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Getting The Right Care For Your Ankle

While weve already touched on the importance of immediate care for your sprained ankle, theres also much that we can do if youre experiencing ongoing problems due to an old ankle sprain. If we identify chronic instability, stiffness, or early arthritis, we can get you started on a physical therapy regimen that can greatly improve your ankle function moving forward.

If you want to avoid future complications in your ankle after a sprain or youre already dealing with post-sprain problems, we can help. To get started, simply contact our New York City office, which is located at Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side.

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How Can I Help Prevent Sprains

Torn MCL / Sprained Knee

Though sprains can happen to anyone, there are a few ways you can reduce the risk of a sprain. These tips include:

  • Avoid exercising or playing sports when tired or in pain.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and well-balanced diet to keep muscles strong.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly and be sure any sports equipment is also fitting well.
  • Practice safety measures to prevent falls.
  • Do stretching exercises daily or prior physical therapy exercises to maintain strength and balance.
  • Warm up and stretch before doing any physical activity.

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Types Of Knee Sprains

Most knee sprains can be treated without surgery, but severe sprains may require surgical intervention. Below is a list of types of knee sprains and are graded on a severity scale.

  • Grade 1 Sprains: The ligament is mildly damaged and slightly stretched but is still able to help keep the knee joint stable.
  • Grade 2 Sprains: The ligament is stretched to the point where it becomes loose, often referred to as a partial tear.
  • Grade 3 Sprains: Referred to as a complete tear of the ligament the ligament has been split into two pieces, and the knee joint is unstable.

Ongoing Problems After An Ankle Sprain

We want to first point out that ankle sprains that we treat promptly and properly have great prognoses. Under our care, we give you the tools and guidance necessary to ensure that your ankle heals well.

If, however, your sprained ankle wasnt treated properly, didnt adequately heal, and/or didnt rehabilitate completely, you run the risk of ongoing problems down the road, starting with chronic ankle instability.

With chronic ankle instability, your ankle can often give way, mostly falling to the outside, thanks to looser-than-normal ligaments. This frequent collapsing of your ankle can lead to further sprains, as well as ongoing pain, swelling, and weakness in the joint.

Another long-term problem after an ankle sprain is chronic stiffness in the joint, namely poor dorsiflexion . This stiffness can have a cascading effect on your body since it may interfere with how you walk, which can lead to hip and knee problems.

Rounding out our list of potential complications after a sprained ankle is post-traumatic arthritis. During the original sprain, you may have also damaged cartilage, which can lead to the premature onset of arthritis. Interestingly, this type of arthritis may develop a few years, or a few decades, after the initial trauma.

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What Are Its Primary Causes

Knee hyperextension injuries typically occur in a sporting activity that involves contact, jumping, or cutting sports . Forceful knee hyperextension via contact or non-contact injuries commonly injure the ACL, PCL , and other structures such as meniscus, and can even cause bone contusion in the femoral condyle or tibial plateau. The extent of the damage can be as little as a small sprain or strain but other high force injuries can cause complete tears in the ligaments.

Physical Therapy & Exercise

Knee Ligament Repair

After the initial swelling reduces and more normal movement and appearance returns, then seeing a qualified physical therapist can be beneficial in neuro-muscular re-education of the joint. With injuries, your body will develop bad habits as a work-around and can lead to further injuries and improper biomechanics. Working with PT can help re-educate back to normal movement patterns as well utilize other modalities such as dry needling, blood flow restriction therapy, and others to further assist in your bodys natural healing.

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Helping You Heal From Knee Sprain

A knee sprain is a common injury that can prevent you from living a full life. The pain can make it difficult to do your normal daily activities. You may not be able to play the sports you love.

Fortunately, a sprained knee is treatable. The injury heals quickly in most people. For mild sprains, doctors recommend that you continue using your knee normally even if it feels a little stiff and painful.5 Once the initial symptoms ease off, stretching and strengthening exercises are the quickest way to recover from a knee sprain. Remember to gradually increase exercises as the pain and swelling reduce. Its a good idea to build strength with rehab exercises before returning to sports which can potentially cause a re-injury.

The Injurymap app has a range of effective exercises that can be performed at home with little to no equipment. If you have suffered a knee sprain, you should focus on exercises that will make your leg muscles stronger. This will not only speed up recovery from a sprained knee but also prevent future injuries. The Injurymap app demonstrates each exercise so its easy to follow along and workout at your convenience. A sprained knee should never prevent you from living the life you want and doing the things you love. Start using the Injurymap app today to become the strongest version of yourself.

Treatment For Knee Ligament Injuries

Specific treatment for a knee ligament injury will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age

  • Your overall health and medical history

  • How bad your injury is

  • How well you can tolerate specific medications, procedures, and therapies

  • How long it may take for your injury to heal

  • Your opinion or preference

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Surgery For Mcl Tears

MCL tears often do not need surgery. There are many studies that document successful nonsurgical treatment in nearly all types of MCL injuries. Most surgeons agree that for patients who complain of persistent knee instability, despite appropriate nonsurgical treatment, surgery is reasonable.

Some surgeons advocate surgical treatment of grade III MCL tears in elite athletes or in those athletes with multiple ligament injuries in the knee. In these circumstances, you should discuss the optimal management of your injury with your healthcare provider.

Causes Of Knee Sprain

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Some of the common causes of a knee sprain include forceful twisting of the knee, suddenly stopping while running, direct blow to the knee, and a fall that results in landing on your knees. The factors that increase the risk of knee sprain include participation in sports activities such as skiing, poor coordination, poor balance, and inadequate flexibility and strength in your muscles and ligaments.

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Knee Sprains Take Time To Heal No Matter How Well Conditioned You Are

You cant rush the healing process.

It takes time. Even for professionals like Aaron Rodgers.

He continued to play, but he protected his knee by wearing a knee brace during games following his initial injury.

When your medical provider clears you to play, you may need to wear a similar knee support or brace. While the added protection may interfere with your range of motion and speed, it may help you prevent a more severe injury.

Taking care of a knee injury immediately is the best way to prevent long-term damage to your knees delicate structures. Following your healthcare providers recommendations will help you preserve your range of motion, recover quickly, and get back into the game.

If an injury occurs during a practice or a game, Bone & Joint has a team of Sports Medicine Specialists who can treat your injury.

Treatment For Acl Tears

ACL tears are more common in athletes, but they can happen while running on a trail or apple picking. “It’s really an unlucky injury,” Gwathmey shares. It all depends on the position of the knee when the injury occurs. Most ACL tears need surgery.

Once the swelling goes down, an orthopedic surgeon can reconstruct the knee by grafting a tendon into your knee, which becomes the new ACL ligament. Usually, theyll take a tendon from the same knee. But they can also use one from a cadaver if your tendons are unhealthy. This isn’t very common for younger, healthy patients.

ACL surgery is arthroscopic, meaning the surgeon makes only tiny cuts. This means you can go home the same day. The surgeon:

  • Uses a tiny video camera to view the inside of the knee joint
  • Drills tunnels in the thigh and shin bones
  • Threads the new tendon
  • Screws everything into place

After surgery, your knee will get stiff. Your doctors want you to get back to normal motion quickly, so youll start physical therapy immediately. The goal is to strengthen and build up the range of motion in your knee.

Recovery can take 6-9 months. Most players are back to their sport the following season.

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Treatment For A Knee Strain Or Sprain

Many patients can self-treat knee strain or sprain with rest, ice, compression, elevation and anti-inflammatory medication. If the pain is moderate to severe, your physician may require you to wear a brace over the knee to provide stability. More advanced knee strains or sprains can be treated with the following treatments:

  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation physical therapy is crucial to help strengthen the knee after a strain or sprain your physical therapist will work with you to gradually add exercises that will help restore mobility in the knee.
  • PRP therapy PRP therapy for knee strains or sprains is a newer therapy where your orthopedic physician will remove a blood sample from the patient, put the blood in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets and then inject them back into the patient at the affected site in the knee.

First Aid For Knee Injuries In The First 48 To 72 Hours

What to Expect from your Knee Arthroscopy
  • Stop your activity immediately. Dont work through the pain.
  • Rest the joint at first.
  • Reduce pain, swelling and internal bleeding with icepacks, applied for 15 minutes every couple of hours.
  • Bandage the knee firmly and extend the wrapping down the lower leg.
  • Elevate the injured leg.
  • Dont apply heat to the joint.
  • Avoid alcohol, as this encourages bleeding and swelling.
  • Dont massage the joint, as this encourages bleeding and swelling.

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Knee Sprains: Causes Risk Factors And Symptoms

Have you ever landed funny when making a jump shot in basketball and felt something pop inside your knee? Or maybe youve smacked your knee hard on a coffee table been checked against the wall playing hockey or twisted, pivoted, or side-hopped awkwardly while skiing, dancing, or playing any number of sports.

Suddenly you find your knee hurts and its buckling under your weight. Maybe you even go down, tripping in the stairs or collapsing on the playing field or court. Within a few hours, you may notice swelling and tenderness, and possibly some limited mobility in the knee.

If this has happened to you recently, you may have a knee sprain: an injury affecting one of the four main ligamentsstrong bands of connective tissuethat pass through the knee joint and connect your upper leg bone to your lower leg bones.

The Four Ligaments of the Knee

The four ligaments of the knee are:

  • Posterior cruciate ligament . Anterior means front. Posterior means back. The PCL crosses through the joint and controls the backward motion of the shin. Its a stronger ligament than the ACL and is less commonly injured. PCL sprains are usually not as painful and disabling as ACL sprains. Often they can heal on their own.

The knee is at the crux of everything active people do: walking, running, jumping, climbing, bending the leg, kneeling, and kicking. Thus its the most commonly injured body part among athletes, especially high school athletes.

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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