All You Need to Know About Knee Sprains – Types, and Treatment Options

Joining the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia), knee forms one of the largest and most complex joints in the human body. The thigh bone, shin bone, knee cap essentially make the knee joint where the tendons connect these bones to the muscles, and ligaments join these bones to provide stability to the knee.

In this blog, we are going to give you a brief introduction into knee sprain, its causes, types, symptoms, and treatment options.

So, what is a knee sprain?

A knee sprain is an injury caused when the ligaments of the knee that support and stabilize the knee are stretched or torn.

There are four types of knee ligaments that help knee joint bend back and forth and control the knee in its place during excessive movements. And hence four types of ligament injuries can result in knee sprains.

Type of Ligaments & Knee Sprains:

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL):  Collateral ligaments are the fibrous structures that protect the knee from excessive side-to-side movements. Lateral Cruciate Ligament is a connected thigh and shin bone and is located outside of the knee providing stability. It is least likely to be injured among all the ligaments.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL): Medial Collateral Ligament is located along the inner side of the knee joint and it can be injured or torn when the knee suffers a direct sideway blow which can happen during sports like hockey, football, rugby or sever knee twists during wresting or skiing.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL): Cruciate ligaments are the ligaments that support forward/backward and rotational stability of the knee and are often more prone to sports injuries as compared to collateral ligaments. These ligaments are located inside the knee joint forming an X pattern, to act as knee stabilizers.

A sudden twist, stop pivot or change in direction of the movement, overstretching, or even direct blow to the knee can result in ACL injuries which happen to be common among season sportspeople.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL):  PCL along with ACL helps in stabilizing the knee and naturally is prone to injury. The injury to the PCL often occurs due to the direct impact to the front knee caused either of landing hard on a bent knee or sudden blow to the front knee during sports. Like ACL, PCL is more prone to injuries in football, rugby, and basketball players.

Treatment for Knee Sprain:

Knee pain, swelling, stiffness, and instability are common symptoms of knee sprain. The knee specialist evaluates the knee sprain to identify the exact cause of the swelling and pain. Each of the ligament’s health is identified to know the cause of the severity of the injury. All the above types of knee sprain can be again classified into Grade 1 (minor), Grade 2 (moderate- partial tear), and Grade 3 (Severe- complete tear) based on the diagnosis.

As for Grade 1 & Grade 2 injuries, RICE (Rest, Ice, and Compress & Elevate) method is used and a knee specialist treats the swelling and pain with anti-inflammatory drugs while suggesting a brace. Sprains caused by the Grade 3 ACL, MCL or LCL can warrant surgical repair and reconstruction performed knee surgeon.

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