A knee sprain is a common injury that occurs when ligaments become overstretched or torn. Not only is this a painful injury, but it’s also one that can cause long-term health issues such as arthritis.

Knee sprains typically affect one of the following:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

Knee sprain symptoms vary based on factors such as overall health, extent of the damage and the type of sprain. Most people with a knee sprain experience several of the following symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Popping
  • Muscle spasms

Top causes of knee sprains

There are many causes of a knee sprain, including but not limited to:

  • Taking an awkward step
  • Stepping into a hole or on an object
  • Sudden jumping or twisting, such as when playing sports
  • Over-straightening of your knee
  • Blunt force to the knee or lower leg

A knee sprain can happen in your regular, every day life. For example, if you’re walking through the parking lot at work and step in a pothole, you could twist your knee and find yourself in immediate pain.

Diagnosis and treatment

A knee sprain is not something you can diagnose on your own. It requires professional attention, as your doctor can run a variety of tests to determine if you have a sprain and the extent of the damage.

In addition to testing the ligaments in your knee, your doctor can order an X-ray and MRI for a closer look at the damage.

Treatment varies based on the extent and type of injury, but typically includes:

  • Pain medication, especially in the days that follow the injury
  • Rest
  • Ice and compression
  • Immobilization while you heal

If your ligament is torn, you may require surgery to avoid future complications.

Recovery time

Generally speaking, a knee sprain is healed when you’re no longer experiencing pain and are able to move without discomfort.

Most people with a minor knee sprain heal within two to four weeks. However, if you require surgery, it’ll take as long as six months to make a full recovery.

If you suffer a knee injury on the job, such as a sprain, report the accident to your employer and receive an immediate medical diagnosis.

If your injury will keep you out of work, file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in San Bernardino. You can rely on this financial assistance as you receive treatment and work toward returning to your as quickly as possible.