A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, the fibrous band of connective tissue that joins the end of one bone with another. Ligaments stabilize and support the body's joints. For example, ligaments in the knee connect the upper leg with the lower leg, enabling people to walk and run.
A sprain is caused by direct or indirect trauma (a fall, a blow to the body, etc.) that knocks a joint out of position, and overstretches, and, in severe cases, ruptures the supporting ligaments. Typically, this injury occurs when an individual lands on an outstretched leg; slides into a base; jumps up and lands on the side of the foot; or runs on an uneven surface.
While the intensity varies, pain, bruising, swelling, and inflammation are common to all three categories of sprains: mild, moderate, and severe. The individual will sometimes feel a tear or pop in the joint.
A severe sprain produces excruciating pain at the moment of injury, as ligaments tear completely, or separate from the bone. A moderate sprain partially tears the ligament, producing joint instability, and some swelling. A ligament is stretched in a mild sprain, but there is no joint loosening.
Chronic strains are the result of overuse (prolonged, repetitive movement) of muscles and tendons.
Inadequate rest breaks during intensive training precipitates a strain. Acute strains are caused by a direct blow to the body, overstretching, or excessive muscle contraction.
Typical symptoms include pain, muscle spasm, muscle weakness, swelling, inflammation, and cramping. In severe strains, the muscle and/or tendon is partially or completely ruptured, often incapacitating the individual. Some muscle function will be lost with a moderate strain, where the muscle/tendon is overstretched and slightly torn. With a mild strain, the muscle/tendon is stretched or pulled, slightly.
One of our highly-trained knee specialists will perform a thorough evaluation and examination to determine the extent of your condition, including a complete review of your medical history.
Our specialists may also utilized diagnostic tools such as an MRI, X-ray or CT scan to confirm the extent of your condition.
Treatment for knee sprains involves a combination of activity modification, anti-inflammatory drug treatments and a comprehensive stretching and strengthening program. Surgical intervention is rarely necessary.