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Knee Sprain


A knee sprain is caused by a stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments are strong tissues that connect one bone to another.

Knee Anatomy



  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for your knee:

  • Rest: Limit movement as your injury heals. This will help decrease the risk of more damage to your knee. You may need crutches to take weight off your injured knee. Use crutches as directed.

  • Ice: Ice your knee to help decrease swelling and pain. Use an ice pack or put ice in a plastic bag and cover it with a towel. Put the ice on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times each day. Do this for 2 to 3 days.

  • Heat: Use heat after you have used ice for 2 to 3 days. Apply a hot pack, heating pad, or soak in a hot tub. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times each day.

  • Support: Support your knee by wrapping it with tape or an elastic bandage. You may need a brace for more support. This will help decrease swelling and movement so your knee can heal.

  • Elevate: Use pillows to raise your knee above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Prevent another injury:

  • Warm up and stretch before you exercise.

  • Do not exercise when you are tired or in pain.

  • Wear shoes that fit well and run on flat surfaces to prevent falls.

  • Wear equipment to protect yourself when you play sports.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have new or increased swelling, bruising, or pain in your knee.

  • The skin on your lower leg or foot is turning white or blue and feels cool when you touch it.

  • You have questions about your injury or treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.