Ligament Tear / Sprain
Ligaments are strong taut bands of fibrous tissue that connect bone to bone. They can cause severe pain if stretched/ injured when exposed to high amounts of force such as during a fall or high impact activities. Common areas of ligament tears are ankle, knee (commonest), wrist, thumb, neck, or back ligaments.
A ligament tear causes excess pain and is very tender to touch. One can see severe Swelling around the joint or even Bruising immediately after the injury. It leads to difficulty in moving the joint and sometimes people might even hear a pop sound during the time of injury.
Sprains are graded, with criteria depending on the extent of injury to the ligament:
Grade 1: This is a mild sprain that damages the ligament but does not cause much tearing.
Grade 2: This is a moderate sprain that includes a partial tear of the ligament. As a result, the joint may show abnormal looseness / inability to perform action properly.
Grade 3: This is a severe sprain with a complete tear of the ligament. It results in instability of the joint and loss of its use
Various causes that may lead to ligament tears include:
➤ Falls from height
➤ Sudden twisting of leg/ankle
➤ Direct blow to the ligament
➤ Sudden high velocity jerks
➤ Road traffic accidents etc.
Physiotherapy has shown amazing results in recovering a patient from any ligament injury. It includes Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.) as the initial treatment protocol for a ligament injury.
Rest: It reduces the stress over the area and helps in promoting the healing process.
Ice: Provides short-term pain relief to an injured area and works to reduce the swelling.
Compression: Compression (e.g., wrapping the injured area with an elastic bandage) helps reduce and limit overall swelling and occasionally works to ease pain.
Elevation: This helps control blood flow to the area and, thus, reduce swelling. This is most effective when the injured area is raised above heart level.
Other treatment techniques are done later once we have achieved pain relief in order to maintain the proper functional activity of a person:
➤ Basic and Advance Physiotherapy techniques can be done in order to provide support, relieve pain, promote healing and maintain overall function of a joint.
➤ Exercises are done to strengthen the muscles and other structures in order to reduce load over the injured ligament.
➤ Modalities like SWD, LASER, TENS, ULTRASOUND are used to promote healing and reduce pain.
➤ Gait training with assistance initially, Balancing exercises, Proprioceptive trainings are done
➤ Assistive devices like splints / braces are given to the patients according to the area being injured which helps in supporting the part and reduce the chances of further injury.
What our Clients have to say
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we walk with ligament tear?
The answer is yes. After the pain and swelling subside and if there is no other injury to your knee, you may be able to walk in straight lines, go up and downstairs and even potentially jog in a straight line.
How long does a ligament tear take to heal?
For most mild to moderate sprains and strains, one can expect to regain full mobility within 3 to 8 weeks. More severe injuries can take months for a full recovery.
Does tearing a ligament require surgery?
Ligament damage often happens from a sports injury. A torn ligament severely limits knee movement. This results in the inability to pivot, turn, or twist the leg. Surgery is the last choice to repair a torn ligament if other medical treatments are not effective.
Do ligaments ever fully heal?
As discussed earlier, ligament healing is slow and often incomplete. Joint laxity caused by ligament injury improves slowly over a period of six weeks to a year. However, at six weeks to one year after injury, a large percentage of patients still have objective mechanical laxity and subjective joint instability
How to treat a torn ligament?
Below treatments are usually done :
‣ First Aid. Within the first 72 hours of injury, one may need to ice the injured joint regularly, use a brace for extra support or a bandage to reduce swelling, elevate the injury, and rest and stay off your feet.
‣ Physical Therapy.