We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Knee Strain?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A knee strain is an acute injury in which tendons and ligaments become stretched or torn. Most strains occur because of direct blows to the knee, extreme bending or twisting of joints, or overuse through repetitive activity. The most common symptoms include pain, swelling, loss of mobility, and a lack of strength. Depending on the severity of a knee strain, an individual may be able to ease symptoms and recover with rest and simple home remedies. A serious strain usually requires immediate medical attention, surgery, and several weeks of physical therapy.

Knee tendons and ligaments connect muscles to leg bones, provide stability, and allow the knee joint to move and bend. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an especially large, important ligament that is commonly strained in sports and other physical activities. The ACL and nearby tendons can be injured when the knee strikes the ground, or when a sudden twist extends the joint beyond its normal range of motion. Strains can also result from repetitive activity, such as lifting heavy objects or frequently sprinting and stopping.

A knee strain usually results in intense, immediate pain and swelling. An individual may find that it is impossible to bend the knee or put weight on the leg without assistance for many days. Damaged tissue becomes inflamed and stiff, and is usually very tender to the touch. A person may also notice a cracking or popping noise when moving the knee, which is a sign of internal swelling and pressure on the joint.

A mild strain, one in which the leg still has some mobility and the pain is not overwhelming, may heal in as little as two weeks. Healing time can be shortened by resting the leg as much as possible and icing the joint regularly. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs can help to reduce swelling, and a knee brace can be used to provide stability and cushioning. Once a knee begins feeling better, light stretching exercises can help to promote strength and flexibility. Doctors often recommend that people can take short walks and perform lunges to rehabilitate damaged knee tissue.

More severe, debilitating strains should be evaluated by licensed physicians. A doctor can examine the knee, take x-rays to check for tears and damaged cartilage, and decide on the best treatment. Some injuries require invasive surgery to mend torn tendons and ligaments. Recovery after knee surgery can take up to six months and typically includes regular sessions with a physical therapist. By working with a therapist and following doctors' orders, an individual with a bad knee strain is usually able to return to everyday activities and sports.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon227289 — On Nov 04, 2011

I have a knee strain, but I can walk slowly. I strained my knee five days ago. So what should I do to get it back to normal?

By pharmchick78 — On Dec 30, 2010

@galen84basc -- First of all, it is virtually impossible to diagnose someone on the internet despite what all the websites tell you, so above all, I would advise you to go to a doctor if there is pain and swelling.

Any time there is heat and pain in a joint, it can be a sign of trouble, so it really doesn't matter whether it's a sprain or a strain -- either way, you'll need medical care if the pain, swelling, and heat doesn't go away within 24 hours.

With proper treatment, it's very possible to have a full recovery, but if you let it go, you could be in for a long period of rehab or even knee surgery, so get it checked out right away. And next time, ask your doctor and not the internet.

Best of luck.

By galen84basc — On Dec 29, 2010

Hi -- could you tell me some more about knee strain symptoms, specifically how to tell the difference between a knee sprain and strain?

I fell yesterday and now my knee is all swollen and warm to the touch. It is also very discolored and there is a lot of pain in the knee as well, so I'm worried that I might have done some serious damage.

So could you tell me how to tell if I've got a knee ligament strain or simply a sprain, and then what to do in terms of knee treatment for each kind of problem?

Thank you very much.

By TunaLine — On Dec 27, 2010

Very interesting -- I never knew that there was actually a condition called knee strain. I always just thought that people were referring to a knee sprain, or just a knee muscle strain. I guess you learn something new every day!

That is reassuring to hear that there are a lot of knee strain treatment options out there though. I can only imagine what a pain that would be do deal with. I walk a lot for my job, and that would about be the end of me if I had to stay immobile for that long.

So here's hoping for good knee health...

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.