Ligaments are tough, fibrous bands that connect bones with other bones and cartilage. They’re strong and flexible structures that facilitate bone movement, allowing you to perform actions such as wiggling your fingers and flexing your foot.
While ligaments are pretty flexible, they may sustain tears if stretched beyond their normal capacity. This results in ligament injuries.
What Causes Ligaments to Tear?
As mentioned above, ligament tears occur when the fibrous structures are stretched beyond their capacity. This may happen when you twist or contort a body part at an odd angle, e.g., rolling your wrist or twisting your ankle while walking. These injuries may also occur upon impact, such as when playing a sport.
Ligament injuries can be classified as grade 1 (mild), grade 2 (moderate), and grade 3 (complete) tears. Individuals who perform repetitive motions throughout the day or participate in contact sports are more susceptible to these injuries.
Common Ligament Injuries
Ligament injuries are typically associated with the knee. The most common knee ligament injuries include:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries
- Medial collateral ligament injuries
- Lateral collateral ligament injuries
Ligament tears may also occur in the ankles and wrists, leading to sprains. Additionally, the ligaments in the neck, back, and thumb are also prone to tears and injuries.
What Does a Ligament Injury Feel Like?
Ligament injuries are painful. If you sustain a ligament tear, you’re likely to experience:
- Sudden and severe pain
- Joint instability
- Inability to exert pressure on the affected joint
Ligament injuries mustn’t be ignored. Seek medical attention at the earliest to prevent the injury from exacerbating.
Treating Ligament Injuries
Ligament injuries can be treated via various techniques, depending on severity. In the cases where the symptoms are mild, the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method is effective in alleviating pain and restoring mobility. You can also use pain relief or anti-inflammatory medication.
For more serious ligament tears, you need to see an orthopedic specialist for treatment, which may require surgery and/or pain management to regain strength in the injured ligament. Your physician can guide you on the recommended treatment plan.
Our qualified staff at Houston Physicians’ Hospital provides knee pain treatments to treat ACL and PCL tears, among other conditions. We also provide joint pain treatments and surgical procedures to effectively treat ligament injuries.
Visit our website to learn more and find a doctor who’s right for you.