Sprains/Strains (Knee)


Sprains and strains are very common injuries that share very common causes and symptoms. However, they both involve different parts of the body.


A sprain occurs when ligaments are stretched or torn beyond their normal range. Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect bone to bone. Sprains occur in the ankles, knees, wrists, and thumbs. The ankle is the most common joint to be sprained.


A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn beyond its normal range. A tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones.  The lower back and hamstrings are the most common muscles to be strained.


Sprains often occur while walking or exercising on an uneven surface, quickly pivoting during a physical activity, landing on an outstretched hand during a fall, skiing, or playing racquet sports.

Strains often occur due to slipping on ice, running, jumping, throwing, lifting heavy objects, or lifting in an awkward position.


Symptoms of a sprain include pain, swelling, bruising, limited ability to move the injured joint, and a loud “pop” at the time the injury occurs.

Symptoms of a strain include pain, swelling, muscle spasms, and a limited ability to move the affected muscle.


Treatment of sprains and strains depend on the severity of the injury and the joint or muscle involved. In mild to moderate cases of sprains and strains, rest and ice is sufficient treatment. In severe sprains and strains, immobilization with a brace or splint may be necessary. In rare cases of a severely torn ligament or a ruptured muscle, surgery may be needed.

OrthoNeuro Physicians that Treat this Condition: