We use our knees hundreds of times every day. They’re as important as the spine is to a lot of fundamental movements, from walking to sitting down, standing up, and standing still. The knees are a body part that often gets strained, with more than 25 percent of adults dealing with a mobility-related knee issue.
A strain and a sprain are two different things. A strain is when the muscles or tendons are damaged. A sprain is when the knee’s ligaments are torn or damaged. Both are similar in their symptoms which are usually swelling, tenderness, and pain. How they are treated are also somewhat similar but different. Ideally, you want to know which one you are dealing with.
If you are prone to knee strains, there are several things you can do to avoid them. Wear supportive footwear before activities like exercise and sports. Warm up your knees before using them. Search out some exercises to strengthen and/or stretch the muscles around the knee. Determine what the cause of a strain is and make changes to your routine to avoid putting yourself in the same predicament again.
Here are the knee strain symptoms to watch for:
1. Swelling symptoms
Swelling or the appearance of a swollen knee is another common knee strain symptoms. It is your body reacting to the injury and making attempts at a repair. Fluid and white blood cells are being sent to the area, with the hope of speeding up healing. When the swelling becomes severe, contact a chiropractor right away.
2. Soreness symptoms
A lot of knee strains come from overuse. If you play a lot of sports or do a lot of activity, this potentially could be the cause for a knee strain. As with a lot of overuse injuries, managing symptoms involves rest, over-the-counter pain relievers when absolutely needed, and hot-cold therapy.
3. Weakness symptoms
If you try to put weight on your knee and find it’s weak, this could be because the muscle is damaged to the point where it cannot adequately hold your body weight up. This sort of weakness usually disappears over time as the knee heals up. Depending on the severity of the weakness, it may also necessitate further look by a doctor.
4. Pain symptoms
As we compress and tear muscles or tendons, our brains receive a notification that they are in damaged which causes pain. If you have pain in your knee, it could be from a variety of causes. Your knee could be strained or sprained.
There could be arthritis or inflammation. It could be an injury sustained while running or the knee could have simply been twisted without progressing to the point of a strain or sprain.
5. Discoloration symptoms
A knee can appear slightly discolored as it’s swelling and filling with blood. A little bit of redness isn’t anything to worry about. It is a symptom though that you’ve injured your knee. The best treatment is to stop using your knee and get some rest. In a few hours, any sort of discoloration should dissipate.
If discoloration remains or if discoloration appears suddenly hours after the injury occurred and wasn’t initially present post-injury, imaging (i.e. x-rays, MRI, etc.) may be needed to diagnose the problem.
6. Altered shape
Sometimes the swelling and the release of fluid into the joint can cause the knee to resemble a different shape. If your knee suddenly does not look like its regular self, try to use ice to calm inflammation in the area and to bring down some of the swelling.
If the altered shape is accompanied by pressure or extreme pain, seek further assistance in an emergency room.
7. Stiffness symptoms
Don’t be surprised if the morning after you strain your knee, you wake up and it’s a little stiff. Stretching and a slow stand-up is all that’s needed to slowly get blood flowing again and warm up the knee.
If the process of stretching and going slow does not reduce stiffness, causes pain, and/or causes a popping sound, it may require a doctor’s visit to confirm it is indeed a strain. Stiffness in the morning, however, is to be expected.
8. Buckling of the knee
You may still be able to walk with your knee strain but when you apply weight at just the wrong angle, the knee buckles and gives way. One must be very careful with a strain as not getting enough rest and not rehabilitating it by staying off your feet is only going to cause the injury to persist and possibly worsen over time.
9. Inability to walk or nend
When you have an inability to walk or you can no longer bend your knee, it is time to see a physician and have the issue diagnosed. Due to the wide array of things it could be, have it checked out by a doctor and they will be able to confirm whether the symptoms require further testing or are nothing to worry about.