Knee sprain is a common injury that occurs from over stretching or tearing of the ligaments that support the knee joint. A knee sprain occurs when the knee ligaments are twisted or turned beyond normal range of motion.
Some of the common causes of a knee sprain include forceful twisting of the knee, sudden stop while running, direct blow to the knee, and fall that results in landing on your knees. The factors that increase the risk of knee sprain include participation in high demand sport, poor coordination, poor balance, and inadequate flexibility and strength.
The most common symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, warmth and redness of the skin, and restricted movements. Pain will occur soon after injury and may increase upon moving the knee.
Immediately following a knee injury and before being evaluated by a doctor, you should initiate the R.I.C.E. method of treatment
- Rest: You must ensure that your child takes rest, as more damage could result from putting pressure on the injured area.
- Ice: Ice packs should be applied over the injury to decrease swelling and pain. Ice should never be placed on the skin directly instead it should be applied over a towel to the affected area for 15-20 minutes four times a day for several days.
- Compression: Wrap the knee with an elastic bandage or compress it with the help of a stocking to minimize the swelling and support the knee.
- Elevation: Elevate your child’s knee above heart level which will help to decrease swelling and pain.
After the RICE treatment, Dr. Fischer may suggest a brace which stabilizes the knee joint to prevent it from further injury until the ligament heals. Medicines may be prescribed such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease pain and swelling. Physical therapy includes range of motion exercises and strengthening to regain normal function of the knee.
There are few preventive measures to reduce your risk of knee sprain.
- Ensure regular warm up exercises and stretching before starting physical.
- Learn proper techniques for sports and exercises which help to decrease stress on muscles, ligament, and tendons.
- Wear proper protective equipments during sport which can protect from injury.
- Take a break before muscles fatigue to the point of failure, exposing the ligaments to increased loading.