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A knee sprain is not to be confused with a Knee strain
There’s a fair chance that you and all the people around you this very moment have experienced a sprain at least once in your life. We are sure some of you recall gingerly holding a swollen ankle in some hot water as a child. Sprains have caused quite a fair bit of pain for a lot of people. Every football or basketball season we get a flurry of soft tissue injuries. More often than not, these are either sprains or strains. A knee sprain is one of the most prevalent injuries that dominate the playing field.
The Canadian Community Health Survey was carried out in 2010. The aim of the survey was to calculate the increase or decrease in injury rate in Canadians in the past ten years. Strains and sprains were estimated to be the most common type of injury. They accounted for 51 percent of all the total injuries suffered by Canadians. Under this umbrella, 66 percent of injuries in young people were attributed to sports.
In ages 12 to 19, a majority of the injuries suffered were to the feet and ankles. The elderly in the population also mostly had leg-related issues. It is often a diagnosis for knee-related medical issues. However, it may be caused by a variety of reasons, as we shall discuss ahead.
The difference between a knee strain and a knee sprain
Both a strain and a sprain mostly affect the soft tissues of the body. Common areas of effect are the wrist, the ankle, and the knee. The soft tissues of the body consist of ligaments, tendons, and muscles. A strain occurs in the muscles and tendons of the body. Tendons connect the muscle to the bone. A strain is a ‘pull’ in the muscle or a tear in the tendon. Strains are majorly overuse injuries. Sprains are often traumatic injuries.
A sprain is an injury of the ligament. Ligaments are the fibrous, tough bands that connect bones to each other. In a sprain, the ligament suffers a tear or a near-tear. The number of ligaments affected and the extent of the tear determine the severity of the sprain. A large amount of stress exerted on the knee can cause swelling or a tear in the ligament.
A signifier of a bad sprain can be an audible ‘pop’ sound. This sprain is common in athletes but it can happen to anyone. You can get this injury as you land after a high jump on solid ground. Any action that puts a large amount of sudden pressure on the knee can cause a sprain. You can find some of the most common sprains Canadians suffer on this study by the Canadian Chiropractic Association.
What are the symptoms of a knee sprain?
Other than a pop sound that might accompany some really bad knee sprains, there are a few symptoms that you should look for if you think you have a knee injury. Strains and sprains often have similar symptoms. The symptoms include inflammation or bruising in the area of effect. This, of course, is what leads to pain. Depending on the intensity of the injury, the pain may be mild or severe. It is paramount that medical help is sought soon after the injury to prevent it from worsening.
There are three main levels or grades for this, based on their severity and intensity. These are as follows:
- First Grade: In a Grade 1 sprain, the ligament suffers only some stretching and a near-tear. It may cause swelling but does not affect the movement of the joint to a great degree. The pain is tolerable, and it can be treated at home.
- Second Grade: A Grade 2 sprain features a small partial tear. It can be painful and cause some disability in movement, ranging from mild to severe pain. At this point, it is advised to get some medical attention in order to determine that the tear does not get worse.
- Third Grade: A Grade 3 sprain is the worst kind of sprain. In it, the ligament is badly torn, causing an immense amount of pain. Grade 3 should be treated professionally immediately. For sportsmen, immediate treatment could mean the difference between being in rehab for a few months to never being able to play a particular sport again. Depending on the intensity of the tear, the treatment ranges from physical therapy and rehab to surgery and rehabilitation. A Grade 3 tear almost requires the same kind of treatment that a broken bone does.
The most difficult thing to diagnose after a knee sprain is the exact ligament which requires treatment. The knee is made up of a series of ligaments, and a sprain could have affected more than one.
Using chiropractic care to treat this injury
Joey is a twenty-one-year-old college student who is an avid follower of basketball. With his passion for the sport, he also loves playing it and is in his college basketball team. Once as he returned home after practice, he complained to his parents that his leg did not seem to be taking any weight. It was causing him to limp, sending sharp pain through his entire leg. In a few more hours, they realized that the problem was the knee. A signifier of this was that his knee cap looked bloated, and it was swelling into a deep red.
There was no visible bruising, but Joey admitted to having ‘landed wrong’ after a jump. Since then, the pain had been quite discomfiting. He was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain and given some medication. The pain seemed to subside after a few days, dwindling to some throbbing, but it still hurt to use his leg. Worried that he might never be able to perfectly play basketball again, Joey and his parents came into Pillars of Wellness, seeking chiropractic care as an alternative treatment option.
Chiropractic care can help with a large variety of physical problems. It can also assist in speeding up the rate of recovery after a ligament injury. Professionals who practice chiropractic care techniques understand the human body very well. It is a holistic kind of therapy, that is sensitive to every patient. If you feel like you may be developing ligament or joint problems, it may be well worth it to visit your chiropractor.