Information about conditions is provided as a service to our patients for educational purposes only. "If you understand your condition, you will be able to do the things necessary to rehabilitate much faster." Please feel free to print the information so that you can refer to it often. Sharing of information is quite risky, however. Do not presume that information is meant for you if you have not seen the doctor and received a specific diagnosis. Some conditions share similar symptoms but require very different treatment. If you have friends or family who may have similar symptoms, please schedule an appointment to see the doctor.

Knee Sprain

Also Known As: Knee ligament tear, knee ligament injury.

Knee sprain means that you have injured one of the ligaments around the knee joint. Saying you have a "knee sprain" is not a terribly useful diagnosis for two reasons:

  • First: it does not tell you which ligament is injured. This is important because different ligaments are treated very differently. For example, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries often need surgical reconstruction. On the other hand MCL (medial collateral ligament) injuries seldom require surgery.
  • Second: it does not tell you how badly the ligament is injured. The reason this is important is that minor injuries usually require simple treatment. More severe injuries may require more substantial treatment, rehabilitation, and if not handled properly at first, possibly surgery.

The tissues of the knee that are usually sprained in the order of frequency are:

  • Joint Capsule
  • ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) Injuries
  • PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) Injuries
  • MCL (medial collateral ligament) Injuries
  • LCL (lateral collateral Ligament
  • Medical Meniscus
  • Lateral Meniscus
It is rare that sprains of the knee affect only one of the tissues above and rarely is attention required to only one as sell. That is why I have provided this information all together. Rehabilitation of the knee joint must be approached as a unit. Often, when surgery is performed, post surgical rehabilitation focuses on one ligament or disc only and fails to involve the other structures.

Symptoms also include:

  • Pain on walking, running or standing.
  • Pain when you lie on your side in bed.
  • Pain on the outside of the thigh and down the side of the leg.
  • Difficulty going up or down stairs
  • Pain in the back of the leg which is often worse at night.
  • Stiffness in the back of the leg and knee joint.


What is the outlook (prognosis) for knee sprain? Without treatment, including exercise, the knee frequently permanently loses full function. The knee joint is susceptible to osteoarthritis, which if left untreated, stimulates a great deal of knee replacement surgery nowadays. With treatment, however, knee pain can be relieved and full function can be restored. Other surgeries are becoming very popular when patients prefer not to exercise. Exercise, however is always required after surgery to be successful. Thus, we prefer to follow the exercise protocols strictly and avoid surgery if possible.

Treatment and Rehabilitation

  1. Physical therapy of the knee joint, supporting muscles and tissues is critical for several days at first and then 3 times a week for a few weeks with the onset of exercises
  2. Sometimes, Manipulation of the spine and surrounding tissue relieves the stress on the muscle attachments.
  3. Immobilization may be necessary to prevent further tearing of the ligamentous tissue
  4. Proper exercises begun at the right time will reduce the strain on the muscles and improve function.
  5. Elimination of repetitive friction motions will relieve the symptoms.


  1. For acute situations, utilize ice packs on the affected area until numbness is reached.
  2. Eliminate bent leg weight bearing and rotational torsion
  3. Electrical stimulation and Ultrasound therapy is effective in the healing process.
  4. Manipulation of the lower back, pelvis, hip and knee may be indicated.
  5. At the appropriate time, stretches and strengthening exercises should be implemented in the treatment regimen. The rehabilitation protocols are the most important part of the treatment if surgery is to be avoided.
  6. Bracing may be indicated at first.
  7. Glucosamine Sulphate has proven effective in helping to reduce the rate of cartilage deterioration in weight bearing joints such as the knee.

Maintenance: Regular spinal adjustments are important to reduce the symptoms of bursitis. Patients who receive monthly spinal manipulation and therapy report fewer complications with bursitis. It is important that you follow your physician's advice about the frequency of treatment for your particular condition. Follow our wellness recomendations for absolute health.

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