A knee sprain is an injury to the ligaments in the knee, which are the tough, elastic-like bands in the knee that connect your bones together and hold your joints in place. A sprain can affect many of the ligaments in your knee by tearing the fibers of the tissues, which usually causes pain, swelling, and bruising. If you have been diagnosed with a knee sprain, you can follow a few simple steps to recover as soon as possible.
Protect your knee.
As soon as you injure your knee, you need to protect it from further harm. When the sprain happens, do not continue to move your knee or perform the activity you were taking part in when you injured it. This will only cause your sprain to get worse. If at all possible, sit down immediately and take pressure off of your knee.
Rest your knee.
Within the first 48 hours, the most important thing for you to do for your knee is rest it. This will give the ligament time to heal and repair itself. Your doctor will likely tell you to stay off of it as much as possible in the days after your injury. To accomplish this, she may give you crutches to use.
Ice your knee.
In the first few days, you should ice your knee to help relieve inflammation and pain. Put ice cubes or crushed ice in a sealed plastic bag or take a bag of frozen veggies from the freezer. Wrap the bag in a towel or cloth. Place the ice pack on your knee for 20 minutes at a time. You can repeat four to eight times a day.
Compress your knee.
To help reduce swelling, you should compress you knee in the days after your injury. You need to wrap your knee with an elastic bandage or band. Wrap the bandage tightly enough to support your knee and keep it from moving. However, make sure you do not wrap it so tight that it cuts off your circulation.
Take off the bandage while you sleep. This gives the blood in your knee time to circulate freely and your knee will not likely move much while you sleep.
You may be able to take the compress off after 48 hours. If you knee is still swollen, however, your doctor may advise you to keep compressing it.
Elevate your sore knee.
During the days after your injury, you should elevate your leg as much as possible. Try to keep your knee above the level of your heart to decrease the blood flow and swelling to your knee. Sit back or lie down on your back. Place two or three pillows underneath your sprained knee to elevate it above your heart.