Display Patient Information Leafelts

Sprained knee

Date issued: August 2021

Review date: August 2023 

Ref: D-368

PDF:  Sprained knee final August 2021.pdf [pdf] 710KB

How our body moves:

Inside your body is a skeleton made up of 206 different sized bones. The place  where bones meet is called a joint. Your elbows and knees are examples of joints.

Muscles cover our bones and let us move our bodies. We have over 600 muscles.

Tendons connect muscles to bones and ligaments help to hold things in place.

If you fall, slip or exercise too hard you can sprain a ligament near a joint. The ligament has been stretched or torn.

If you sprain a knee you need to get medical advice.

Treating a sprained ankle:

Protect: it is important to look after your knee and try not to over stretch it

Rest: for the first 24 hours avoid putting your full weight on your leg

Ice: put a cold compress, ice cubes wrapped in a tea towel or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel on your knee

Compression: tight support bandages sometimes work if put on minutes after a sprain

Elevate: sit or lie with your knee above the level of your heart. This is to help reduce any swelling

Your knee may swell and bruise; this is normal so do not worry.

Taking painkillers:

Pain killers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen (tablets that help with any swelling or pain) are important.

You can get these from a chemist or supermarket.

Talk to the chemist about possible side effects. These tablets could make you constipated (unable to poo properly).


You will be told whether you can do some simple exercises to stop your knee from getting stiff or weak.

Your knee will take several weeks to heal properly.

If your knee does not get better you can ask your GP to refer you for physiotherapy.


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