Blog » Injury Guide » Sprained Knee

Sprained Knee

What is a Knee Sprain?

A sprained knee is an injury which can be experienced by feeling a pain in the knee area of the leg. Symptoms of a knee sprain include swelling, pain, stiffness or buckling. There are a number of causes of a sprained knee including falls and injuries incurred during physical activity. Treating a knee sprain is dependent on how serious the sprain is. A minor sprain may only need rest and medication, whereas a more serious sprain may require surgery. Evaluation from a doctor is important in assessing the severity of the sprain.


  • Overuse injury
  • Twisting force or direct impact to the knee
  • Rapid direction changes
  • Tackling, collisions and falls (common in football and rugby)
  • Landing from a jump


  • Popping sensation and pain in the knee
  • Pain at the inner aspect of the knee
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Inability to bear weight


  • RICE method
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication
  • Supports and Braces
  • Strengthening and Stretching exercises
  • Surgery


Diagnosis of a knee sprain tear is usually carried out by a doctor or physiotherapist who will examine the area before diagnosing the injury. It is also common for the patient to have an X-Ray or MRI to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out any further complications.

How Long Does It Take For A Sprained Knee To Heal?

Up to 4 weeks for a minor sprain and between 4 and 12 months for a more serious sprain. Recovery is dependent on the severity of your injury and your treatment.

How Do You Know If You Have A Sprained Knee?

Pain, swelling, stiffness, tenderness and bruising. A sprained knee can be identified by a number of symptoms but a doctor should be consulted for a full diagnosis.

What Is The Best Way To Treat A Sprained Knee?

RICE Method, medication, surgery and strengthening exercises. The treatment of your knee will depend on how severe your sprain is.

Can You Walk On A Sprained Knee?

It is advised that you rest your sprained knee until it is healed before walking. Keeping weight off your injury will aid recovery and reduce swelling.

Further Info

Knee sprains are one of the most common sports injuries to the ligament and usually occur as a result of a twisting or pivoting force to the knee or from a direct impact to the area. This is a very common injury in contact sports such as football, rugby and hockey due to the tackling and collisions involved. Knee sprains are also common in basketball and netball when the knee twists after landing hard from a jump. Knee sprain can occur in different parts of the knee; - Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) - Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) - Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) - Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Patients who suffer a sprained knee usually complain of a sudden onset of severe pain in the inner knee at the point of injury with a sensation of the knee ‘popping’ or ‘tearing’. The pain will usually be enough to prevent the patient continuing with activity however those who do continue are likely to stop soon after due to an increase in pain in the knee and an inability to bear weight on the leg as a result. This is usually followed by swelling and inflammation in the area. Pain will often subside after the initial onset however the patient will usually feel discomfort and stiffness in the area and an inability to straighten the knee. In order to treat a sprained knee, rest is crucial so to not damage the ligament any further and to stay away from any activity that could aggravate the knee or causes any pain or discomfort to the area. Continuing any strenuous activity or resuming sport will not only hinder the healing process, it could lead to further damage to the ligament and surrounding tissue. Applying ice to the area is also an important aspect of recovery for any soft tissue injury as it will minimise any swelling and inflammation of the area. Following the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) when the injury first occurs and within the following 72 hours will ensure no further damage is caused to the area and prevent any further swelling of the injury which may come from resuming activity. Anti-Inflammatory medications may be taken to relive the pain of the injury and also to minimise any swelling. Braces and knee supports are often recommended to patients with a sprained knee or tear as they will provide the knee with stability and support to allow effective healing. Many patients also continue to use supports as well as taping and strapping techniques once they return to sport to prevent the injury reoccurring in the future. A strengthening program may also be advised by a physiotherapist to keep the area strong and ensure flexibility once the injury had healed. This should not be done without professional advice as a patient can run the risk of aggravating the area and increase the healing process. In the final stages of recovery and in the first few months of returning to training, stretching exercises to the quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles may be performed to keep the area stable and strong and can also help prevent the injury reoccurring.