Knee injuries are one of the most common types of injuries that athletes suffer - especially in the game of basketball. A knee injury can affect any of the major knee ligaments, including the ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL and coronary ligament.
Knee sprains typically occur when a player changes their direction abruptly or lands awkwardly after a jump, or more commonly, a sudden direct contact hit to the knee. Depending on how severe a knee injury is, the symptoms and required steps for recovery will vary.
There are three general grades of knee sprains. Here’s what to expect in terms of symptoms and proper treatment for each:
Mild knee sprains occur when the ligaments are only slightly stretched and not torn. While this grade of sprain isn’t generally very painful or noticeably inflamed, it can still raise the risk of a repeat injury.
Fortunately, Grade I sprains generally recover within a few weeks. It is recommended to ice the injured area as soon after the injury as possible using the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Alternatively, cold compression therapy systems such as Game Changers Sports Recovery’s Game Ready Therapy Machine can be an even more efficient alternative to RICE - with GCSR offering some of the best systems for knee injury recovery in Las Vegas.
Over the counter pain medication or anti-inflammatories will help to manage pain and swelling during downtime, with physiotherapy also a great option to speed healing and prevent re-injury.
Moderate knee sprains occur when ligaments suffer partial tearing resulting in greater pain and swelling, with bruising also common. It will also be difficult to use the joint at this level of injury.
Recovery from a Grade II knee sprain can take as long as six weeks. For treatment, it is recommended to use some kind of protective taping or weight-bearing brace soon after injury to promote healing, reduce pain and prevent the stretching of the ligament while it recovers. Physiotherapy should be performed as well to boost recovery time and effectiveness and prevent re-injury.
Severe knee sprains occur when ligaments are torn completely, rendering the joint incapable of functioning or bearing any weight. This level of damage results in evident swelling with occasional bleeding beneath the skin. It is likely that there will be no pain experienced following a Grade III knee sprain as the pain fibres will be torn on impact.
The recovery time for a Grade III ankle injury can be up to 4 months. Treatment generally requires wearing a protective hinged knee brace in conjunction with ongoing physiotherapy. The advice and guidance of a specialist is strongly recommended with this level of injury severity.
While sports injuries aren’t entirely preventable, applying the right treatment plan is more important than ever for successful recovery, and is your best bet against re-injury.
Stay safe out there!The 4 Most Common Basketball Injuries that Athletes Suffer