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A knee sprain is one or more stretched, partly torn, or completely torn knee ligaments. Ligaments are bands of rope-like tissue that connect bone to bone and make the knee stable. The knee has four main ligaments.
Knee sprains often happen because of a twisting or bending injury from sports such as skiing, basketball, soccer, or ice hockey. The knee turns one way while the lower or upper leg goes another way. A sprain also can happen when the knee is hit from the side or the front.
If a knee ligament is slightly stretched, you will probably need only home treatment. You may need a splint or brace (immobilizer) for a partly torn ligament. A complete tear may need surgery. A minor knee sprain may take up to 6 weeks to heal, while a severe sprain may take months.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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