Causes for knee joint sprain or strain are typically due to uncontrolled stress on the knee joint. Excessive stress can lead to overstretching of the tendons or ligaments. Injuries may also be due to trauma, sports, or falls that hurt the ligaments or tendons causing sprain or strains. Overuse of the knee joint is also a leading cause of knee sprains or strains.
Overexerting, or doing more than you have trained for, in a sport such as running can lead to muscle strains or sprains. Muscle weakness is also a cause of this type of injury.
People with autoimmune disorders may have weakened muscles that are easily stretched or torn leading to sprains and strains. The tight muscles of a person who is not used to exercise and keeping the joint in motion can lead to a locked knee and eventually to a knee sprain when trying to move faster. Over-pronation of the knee joint (not having straight alignment) while running may also be the cause of a knee sprain or strain.
Knee sprains and strains are more common in people who play sports, have a prior history of this condition, or those who wear improper footwear while exercising, which adds extra pressure on the joint.
Both knee strains and sprains have similar symptoms.
The first and immediate symptoms are significant pain in the knee. Pain and tenderness are the key symptoms followed by swelling, inflammation or swelling, limited mobility of the joint or even a locked knee, bruising and stiffness of the knee joint, popping noise at the moment of the injury, and the inability of the patient to walk and put weight on the affected knee.
Strains and sprains can usually be treated with self-care at home. This treatment includes rest, ice to the affected area, compression, elevation, analgesics (pain medication,) and anti-inflammatory medicines.
The patient may be asked to wear a brace to keep the joint stable during the healing process.
If pain and function do not improve, physical therapy may be prescribed. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary.
Preventing knee sprains and strains is primarily focused on effective training before exercise. You can also wear proper footwork while practicing, this helps with knee alignment. If injured, avoid adding stress to the joint. Resting an injury can help avoid further damage to the knee.
In some sports, you should wear knee braces or guards for support.
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
If you experience ongoing pain in the knee, then you should seek medical care to rule out any possibility of serious complications.
Treatment for knee sprain and strain is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.