What is a Sprain?
A sprain of the knee occurs when the joint is overstretched or twisted excessively under stress. Sprains affect the ligaments in and around the joint. In the knee, there are four primary ligaments – MCL, LCL, ACL & PCL. The medial (MCL) and lateral (LCL) collateral ligaments keep the knee joint in place from the inside and outside.
The anterior (ACL) & posterior (PCL) cruciate ligaments prevent forwards, backwards and rotational movement of the joint. If these movements are taken beyond their normal range of movement with sufficient force then damage to the associated ligament can occur.
The way to approach treatment of a sprain depends upon the severity. Sprains can be classified into three stages:
- Grade I – mild sprain – this identifies damage to the soft tissue although it is minor. Normal activity can potentially continue during recovery and rehabilitation
- Grade II – partial tear – this represents significant damage to the ligament. There is a risk of further injury and worsening of the condition of the injury site. Further aggravation of the ligament should be avoided until professional opinion and treatment is sought.
- Grade III – complete rupture – if a complete rupture of the ligament is suspected then all activity that places stress on the affected joint must stop immediately. Ligament rupture will manifest itself as severe joint instability. It requires immediate medical attention and may result in surgical repair