Firstly some common local causes of knee pain are; trauma and overuse, dysfunction of the lower limb and referred pain from low back, pelvis and hip. Not to mention when pain is perceived as coming from the knee, all the anatomical components need to be examined in addition to the joints that contribute to the bio-mechanics of the knee. i.e. low back, pelvis, hip and ankle and the foot.

One of the most common knee injuries is damage to the ligaments, which can cause knee pain. Trauma to the knee causes injured ligaments. The amount of ligament injury caused is described as 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree sprain;

Types of Sprain

  • 1st Degree Sprain – some tearing/over stretch of the fibres, no joint instability, mild pain, minimal swelling. Treatable in approximately 1 week.
  • 2nd Degree Sprain – Separation/tearing of fibres causing moderate instability and moderate to sever pain, swelling and stiffness. Treatable in approximately 3-6 weeks.
  • 3rd Degree Sprain – total rupture, gross instability, pain usually severe, profuse swelling, usually requires lengthy immobilisation and/or surgery.

Ligament injury will usually involve a certain amount of swelling directly over the location of the ligament.

Treatment of 1st and 2nd degree sprains usually involves;

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression/elevation
  • Ultrasound
  • Soft tissue work
  • Nutritional support of vitamin C and zinc.

Once the ligament begins to heal gradual introduction of mobilisation and strengthening exercises can help. Finally, proprioceptive training once ligament has healed.

Lastly 3rd degree sprains are more serious and often require surgical repair.

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