Treatment options for a knee sprain depend on the severity of the sprain and which of the four major knee ligaments is sprained, according to Drugs.com. Doctors typically recommend the RICE treatment for mild and moderate sprains and surgical reconstruction for the most severe strains.
For mild and moderate sprains, rest the injured area, advises WebMD. Avoid any activity that may cause pain or soreness, and ice the injured area to reduce pain and swelling. Apply ice or a cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes at least three times a day. Some doctors recommend alternating between heat and cold treatments.
Wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling, adds WebMD. Elevate the injured knee while sitting or lying down. Keep the knee at or above the level of the heart to minimize swelling. A doctor may prescribe a knee brace and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, for pain relief and to reduce swelling. As the knee pain gradually subsides, a doctor usually prescribes a rehabilitation program to strengthen and stabilize the knee, which helps prevent future injury. Avoid smoking because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair, which slows the healing process.
An individual with a severe MCL injury can also treat the injury with RICE, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. For severe ACL, LCL or PCL injuries, the ligament may require surgical reconstruction using a piece of tissue, according to Drugs.com.