Sprained Knee Recovery Time

A sprain in a human body can be of several varieties and has multiple recovery methods. Knee sprain is an injury to knee ligaments, which are the strong, elastic fibers that hold joints together. A sprain in general is an injury to a ligament that results in pain, swelling or immobilization of an ankle, wrist, knee, finger, or any other joint. Once sprain a sprain happens, repeat sprains become more common.

Recovery Time of Knee Sprains: The Short Answer

As sprains are categorized into three different grades, it’s impossible to say exactly how long a knee sprain takes to heal.  Here are some rough guidelines.

Recovery time of a grade 1 knee sprain = a few days to a week
Recovery time of a grade 2 knee sprain = one week to a month
Recovery time of a grade 3 knee sprain = several weeks to several months.

Recovery times for knee sprains depend not only on the severity of the sprain, but the quality of care they receive and the individual’s age, diet, and overall health.  Keep reading for more information on knee sprains.

Causes of Knee Sprain

These are frequent causes of knee sprains:
- lifting of heavy object
- twisting the knee by stepping on an uneven or slippery surface
- sudden falls impacting the knee

First Aid for Knee Sprains

Ensure that you apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, which can reduce the inflammation because it constricts the blood vessels around the sprain area. This will reduce the inflammation and allow the joint to heal faster. Make sure to use a plastic bag or a towel to put the crushed ice as putting ice directly on the skin can cause further injury.

You may also use an elastic bandage available in a pharmacy. In this way, a sprained knee can be given extra support, both to make yourself comfortable and to improve healing. You can also lie down flat and raise your knees above your heart to decrease the swelling. Most importantly, though, rest your knees, avoid putting weight on them for a while. By avoiding stressing the knee, it will allow damaged ligaments to heal faster and stronger.  For more details, take a look at the post on the RICE method.

Treatment of Knee Sprains

Sprains of the knee can be treated at a clinic or at home, though it’s always recommended to seek medical attention for joint injuries. In diagnosis, X-rays can help doctors to pinpoint the exact condition of ligaments and positions of the bones.  An x-ray is also important to rule out the possibility of fracture.

At home, one can apply cold cloths, ice packs, or bags of ice to the injury. Onions are also a common home remedy.  You can take some chopped onions wrapped in a cloth place it on the affected area. Special exercises are often prescribed for treating knee sprains.  Some sprains also benefit from physical therapy.

By and large, creams and gels with pain relieving drugs can be applied in case of severe and prolonged pain. Anti inflammatory medications are also used for treating sprains. NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) are especially common – both over the counter and by prescription. A very severe sprain – such as a torn ACL – may lead to surgical treatment.

Preventing Knee Sprains

Before any physical activity, you need a proper warm up and stretch as this is one of the most common causes of all sprains. Children and adults need to avoid running on an uneven surface. Wearing good flat shoes with adequate heel support is important for women. It is also wise to avoid return to contact sports until the sprains have completely recovered and are pain-free. It’s also important to exercise common sense when walking in crowded places, on tiled floors, escalators, trekking in mountains, and even praying on the knees for long periods of time.

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