Healing a Sprained Knee Faster
Healing a Sprained Knee Faster
Have you ever sprained your knee?
If you know what it is like, you know how bad it is. It’s important to treat a sprained knee right away because the longer you wait, the more likely it is that your injury will get worse and take longer to heal. In this article, we’ll talk about what causes a sprained knee, the symptoms of a sprain, how long it takes for ligaments to heal, and some tips on treating and preventing future injuries.
We want people who have experienced this type of injury in the past or are currently suffering from one now to find out exactly what they need to do to recover as quickly as possible. That’s why we put together this guide with all of our research into one place so that anyone looking for information on how best to care for their injured knees can come here first! We hope everyone finds these tips helpful!
Usually, knee sprains are named after a particular ligament that was injured or torn:
- Both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) provide stability against forces arising from the front and the back.
- In addition to running along the outside of the knee, the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sustains its stability on the side.
- In the knee, the medial collateral ligament (MCL) runs along the inside surface.
What Does It Feel Like to Have a Knee Ligament Injury?
You may experience different symptoms depending on which ligament was sprained.
The first thing you hear when you sprain an ACL is a pop, and you feel as though your knee cannot take the strain.
An injured PCL may cause pain behind the knee, which becomes worse if you attempt to kneel.
Sprains of the LCL and MCL will make your knee appear to buckle in the opposite direction of the injured ligament, and you will likely feel tender where the damage occurred.
In most cases of knee sprains, one or more of these symptoms will appear:
- Pain that occurs suddenly and is often severe
- The injury was accompanied by a loud pop or snap
- After a fracture, swelling occurs within 24 hours
- Having a feeling of looseness in a joint
- A joint that is unable to bear weight without pain, or even bear weight at all
Those who suffer these injuries should seek medical care. You may require knee surgery in some cases, such as with ACL tears, so that your knee is stable and won't give out when you rotate it or twist it.
What causes knee sprains
Whenever you force your knee away from its natural position, you may suffer a sprain.
The ACL is a ligament in the knee that can be injured when playing sports such as soccer, basketball, football, or gymnastics. This usually happens from jumping or twisting suddenly and it's also possible if you over-straighten your knees to an extreme degree. It could happen due to being struck by something on your leg too!
The PCL can be injured when your knee hits the dashboard, or in a sport where you fall on it while it’s bent. A hard drop to the floor of any kind can also cause this sprain. It is also potentially vulnerable to injuries sustained through sports such as ice hockey where players keep their knees bent while hitting other people and objects hard with them. Falling on one's knee could lead to injury too if it isn't flexible enough.
A blow to your knee's inside can result in a sprain of the ligament that runs along its inner aspect, which is commonly known as an LCL (lateral collateral) injury. Because this area isn't often exposed and thus doesn't receive much impact, it usually occurs only when you're hit from behind with great force by another person or object.
An MCL sprain is usually caused by a hit from the side or a fall where your lower leg twists outward from your thigh.
Diagnoses of sprained knees
To test the ligaments, the doctor will stress the individual ligaments to find out if the joint is stable or not.
You should consult a doctor if you have trouble standing, feel that your knee is about to collapse, or notice swelling or bulges in your leg.
In addition to examining your knee and examining swelling and bruising, your doctor may ask you to use it to determine your mobility.
You'll be asked what you were doing when the injury happened, whether a pop was heard, and how long it took for the pain to start.
Imaging tests can also be used to assess your knee. An X-ray will show if there’s a broken bone, but other imaging methods allow the physician to see different structures inside your knee like ligaments and muscles that support it.
A sprain is when your ligaments stretch or tear. This can happen to anyone. There are three grades, and each one has its own set of symptoms: overstretched (grade 1), partially torn (grade 2), and severely torn/separated to make upgrade 3 sprains.
Treating sprained knees
There are many different treatments for knee injuries, and the most appropriate treatment will depend on your injury. Your doctor should examine you to determine if surgery or physical therapy is required to restore the function of your injured area as quickly as possible.
- Inflammatory pain medication
If the pain is debilitating, a doctor may prescribe stronger medication like acetaminophen.
A doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce your discomfort until you can make an appointment with him or her for further treatment and diagnosis of what's causing your pain. If this doesn't work, then medications prescribed by the physician will likely be more effective than those taken on their own at home.
- Take a rest
To help your knee heal, you should avoid being active and playing sports. Instead, keep it elevated while sitting or sleeping to reduce the swelling of your leg.
- Putting an ice
Your knee may feel better quickly if you use an ice pack for 20 minutes every few hours. The cold will help reduce swelling and pain, even stopping any bleeding inside the joint. However, it's important to consult with a doctor before doing this especially if you have diabetes.
- The compression process
If you have swelling after a knee injury, an elastic bandage will help to reduce the inflammation and promote circulation. However, make sure not to wrap it too tightly because this can cut off your blood flow which may cause other complications such as nerve damage or tissue death.
- Getting immobilized
To protect the knee and assist it in healing, a doctor may provide an orthotic brace. The brace will keep you from over-stretching or moving your leg too much while you are recovering at home after surgery.
- Exercises for knee sprains and physical therapy
Depending on how severe your injury is and where you are in your recovery, your doctor or physical therapist may recommend the following exercises:
- Exercises that lift the legs
- Strengthening the thighs
- Kneel on one knee
- Getting your feet up
- Stretching your thighs and calves
- Exercises to strengthen hamstrings and legs with hamstring curls and leg presses
- A surgical procedure
A torn ligament is a common injury that can be fixed with surgery. After drilling little holes in the bones, they will attach to another piece of tendon and grow around it. Physical therapy helps restore full range of motion once you’re able to resume your normal activities again!
Recovery time from a sprained knee
Once a knee sprain is fully healed, there should be no more pain or swelling and the individual will be able to move their leg freely.
For people who need surgery, knee sprains can take up to four months for complete recovery. Grade 1 and 2 knee sprains heal within two to four weeks; however, it usually takes as long as six months for those that require surgical intervention while recovering from the injury.
Approximately 80 to 90% of people with ACL injuries will make a full recovery, as well as about 80% of those who have PCL sprains. However, some individuals may develop arthritis in their knees over time if they sustained an injury that caused damage or destruction to the ligaments.
What to remember
Because your knee bears the weight of your entire body and determines how well you can move around, you must take proper care when recovering from a sprain. It's best to get medical attention early on so doctors can ensure that everything heals properly.
It is common to want to return quickly, but it's better for your knee health if you give yourself time. You can end up causing more severe problems with a re-injury and the recovery process will take even longer than before.
You can do physical therapy exercises to help get you back to doing the things you love.