Maybe you stepped on a sewer grate while running? Perhaps you came down on someone else's foot while playing basketball? Whatever the case may be, you're dealing with a sprained knee.
Now, you're doing everything in your power to return to full strength. The only problem is, you're not sure of what it takes to recover from a knee sprain.
That's where this article comes in. Below, we're not only going to tell you how to recover from a sprained knee, but we're also going to provide you with a wealth of other relevant information. Let's go!
Table of Contents
What Is a Sprained Knee?
"Sprained knee" is the term used to describe the overstretching or tear of ligaments which connect the thigh and shin bones. A painful condition, it comes in many severities. When severe, it can lead to long-term health issues, and arthritis, in particular.
There are four ligaments in the knee, all of which can be overstretched or torn. These include the anterior cruciate ligament, the posterior cruciate ligament, the lateral collateral ligament, and the medial collateral ligament.
Common Symptoms of a Sprained Knee
There are several symptoms of a sprained knee. The most prominent of these symptoms include the following.
One of the most common symptoms of a knee strain is stiffness. If you have trouble straightening or bending at your knee, there's a fairly good chance that you've strained it.
While it's not always present with a strained knee, swelling is fairly common. Of course, swelling could be indicative of a number of other problems as well, so you have to think critically.
If the swelling is mild, a sprained knee should be assumed. On the other hand, if the swelling is severe, you could be experiencing a full ligament tear.
Another sign of a knee sprain is general weakness. If you have trouble placing weight on your knee, there's a good chance that it's sprained. Again, however, there could also be more severe problems present.
In some cases, a sprained knee will be accompanied by bruising. However, if the bruising is extreme, you're likely dealing with a more serious issue than a sprained knee. A trip to the doctor would be warranted.
The most common of sprained knee symptoms is pain. When you sprain your knee, you will experience physical discomfort, usually on the mild to moderate part of the spectrum.
How to Recover from a Sprained Knee
Recovering from a sprained knee isn't always easy. However, with a lot of hard work and dedication, full recovery is likely. The components of recovery include the following.
In most cases, when you have a sprained knee, you're advised to schedule a doctor's appointment so that you can receive a formal diagnosis. During your appointment, your doctor will test your knee in a number of ways, comparing it against your uninjured knee. Not only will your doctor carry out physical tests, but x-rays and other imaging tests as well.
He or she will also try to get a feel for the nature of your injury, inquiring as to what you were doing when you were injured and how severe the pain associated with your injury is.
Then, your doctor will rate the severity of your injury, giving it a 1, 2, or 3 rating. While a 1 rating indicates an overstretched ligament, a 2 indicates a partially torn ligament, and a 3 indicates a fully torn ligament.
Regardless of the severity of your injury, you will be advised to institute some pain relief measures. These will help to stave off discomfort while your knee heals, allowing you to live a fairly productive life.
In many cases of a sprained knee, doctors will prescribe over-the-counter pain medication. However, this isn't a certainty. If you're not prescribed medication, you're advised to take something such as ibuprofen or Tylenol.
Other pain relief measures include applying ice and heat to the affected area. You might also consider wearing a compression band over the sprained knee.
One of the most vital parts of recovery will be rest. You need to keep activity to a minimum, as you need to remove as much stress from your knee as possible.
Sit or lay down when you can, and, when sleeping, consider raising the affected knee slightly. Raising your knee will help to reduce swelling, allowing it to heal and curbing some of the pain.
In some cases, patients will be advised to wear braces such as the ones found on this website. Braces prevent the ligaments from stretching too far, allowing them to heal.
To return your knee to its optimal state, you might have to engage in some specific exercises. These exercises will strengthen not only the muscles around the knee but the ligaments around the knee as well.
Common exercises for sprained knee recovery include but aren't limited to leg lifts, calf stretches, thigh stretches, hamstring curls, and knee bends. To spur on recovery, you'll have to perform these exercises on a regular basis.
In cases of a severe sprain, surgery will be required. However, this is only necessary when the ligament is torn.
During the procedure, small holes will be drilled into the bones around the knee. Then, the surgeon will take the severed ligaments and reattach them. In some cases, grafts will be needed.
If you do undergo surgery, you will be out of commission for a few months. While you may be able to work, you won't be able to engage in physical activity.
On the Search for More Health Tips?
Now that you know how to nurse that sprained knee, you might be searching for more health tips. If so, you're in the right place. We have you covered.
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