Appointments in as little as 24 hours Start your assessment


Knee Strains/Sprains

A tear to your ligament or knee muscle can result in pain that will hinder your daily activities such as walking or bending to put your shoes on. If you’re an athlete, this can stop you from participating in sports. Seeing a physical therapist when you suspect a tear is very important. The quicker your knee is evaluated and treatment plans are created, the quicker it is for your knee to heal properly, and for you to return to your normal activities. Contact a physical therapist today to learn how you can get rid of your knee pain without harmful pain relievers or surgery.

What is Knee Strain or Sprain?

Sprain and strain have been used interchangeably to describe the tearing and stretching of the tissues around the joints, but they are different.  A knee sprain is a tear in the hip ligaments. Your ligaments are bands of tissues that help to connect the bones in your knee joint. Whereas, a knee strain is the tearing or overstretching of the knee muscles or tendons. Your tendons are dense tissues that connect bones to muscles.

Causes and Risk Factors of Knee Strains or Sprains

Knee strain/sprain can be caused by several factors. They include:


Injuries to the knee from falls or other types of trauma such as motor vehicle accidents

A direct hit or blow to the knee joint

Risk factors that can contribute to knee strains or sprains are:

Sports activities: contact sports such as football, soccer, or basketball can increase the chances of a ligament or muscle tear.

Repetitive movements of the knee such as in cycling, or running

Past knee strains/sprains - if you have had prior tears, you are more likely to have another

Knee Strains/Sprains Symptoms

If you have a sprain or strain, you are likely to experience:

Knee pain

Swelling and inflammation around the knee

Cramping or stiffness of the knee joint


A feeling of unsteadiness or the knee giving way

Difficulty in walking or moving the knee

Snapping or popping noise at the time of injury

Depending on the severity of the tear, symptoms will vary between individuals.

Knee Strains/ sprains Diagnosis

A physical therapist at Polygon PT will evaluate your knee joint, as well as your hip or ankle joint to determine the location and severity of the tear. You may sustain other knee injuries when you have a tear, therefore, imaging tests such as X-ray or MRI-scan might be recommended. We will walk closely with your doctor to achieve this.

Treatment for Knee Strains or Sprains

Your physical therapist may prescribe the following:

Since individual cases vary, your PT would create a custom treatment plan for you. With physical therapy, you don’t need to take harmful pain medications or get surgery. However, for severe knee strain or sprain, where the ligament or muscle is torn off completely, surgery is needed to stitch it back together. After the surgery, rehabilitation is crucial to promote quick recovery and a full range of motion of the knee joint. Recovery might take a couple of weeks depending on the severity of the tear. It is important to not stress the knee during this process. Your therapist will educate you on the prevention of tears in the future. This could be modifying activities that could lead to tearing, warming up properly before activities or exercises, and using protective gear for contact sports.

Get Started With Physical Therapy and Rehab for Knee Strain or Sprain Today

Do not delay your care! If you are experiencing symptoms associated with a ligament or muscle tear, it is best to seek help immediately, as you might have other knee injuries alongside. Early treatment means you get back to your normal activities as soon as possible and without pain. Our therapists are excited to help you achieve this, just as we have done for a lot of others. Contact a physical therapist today.