A knee sprain is a tear in or painful stretch of one or more of the ligaments that hold your knee in place. Ligaments are short, tough bands of tissue that hold your bones together at a joint.
Usually happen when you twist your leg
Can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on whether the ligament is stretched, partly, or fully torn
Often involve more than one ligament
Cause pain and swelling
Don't show up on x-rays, but doctors may do an MRI
Are treated by Protecting the area, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation ("PRICE")
Often require a knee brace
Sometimes require surgery
The cartilage "shock absorber pads" inside your knee may also be injured.
See a doctor if you're unable to stand or walk.
Holding the Knee Together
Doctors can usually tell if you have a knee sprain by examining you and gently moving your knee in different directions. If your knee is very swollen and painful, doctors may do:
Treatment depends on how bad the sprain is.
Mild or moderate knee sprains don’t need special treatment. In the first 24 hours after a sprain, doctors have you do a treatment called PRICE, which stands for:
You may need to wear a splint or a device that supports the knee and keeps it from bending (knee immobilizer). Doctors may have you do exercises to strengthen your knee.
For severe knee sprains, doctors may:
With a severe sprain, don't exercise your knee until your doctor tells you to.
If a lot of fluid builds up in your knee, doctors sometimes use a needle to drain the fluid and lessen the pain.