Ligaments are the fibrous bands of tissue that hold bones together at a joint and help to keep it stable. A ligament is usually injured due to strenuous activities like rigorous exercising, playing a sport or lifting heavy weights. Age & genetics are not significant factors. Lack of proper warm up before exercising or playing sports is often a common cause. This injury is more common in males because ligaments are easily damaged if overstretched, as their elasticity is limited. Minor injuries include a ligament tear, while the major ones can also rupture it completely. The ankle and knee are the most vulnerable areas for such injuries.
Symptoms of these injuries are often developed suddenly in the affected joint. These symptoms are:
- Swelling and bruising
- Pain because of the movement
- An abnormal range of movement at the joint
If you experience difficulty in moving or using a joint after the injury, you need to fix up an appointment with your doctor. If you neglect it, you may have to bear serious complications, as tearing a ligament may cause dislocation of the bone within the affected joint.
Diagnosis & treatment
The maximum time taken by such an injury to heal is eight weeks or within that, without any treatment. But, if you want to speed up the recovery of a sprained body part, you can apply a cold compress to the affected area. You may also take pain-killers or anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain. If the pain becomes severe, get an X-ray done to rule out the option of a fracture. Severe ligament injuries may require a surgery, and once you recover from the surgery, physiotherapy is often needed. In many injuries, the ligament is ruptured beyond repair. In such injuries, doctors often replace a nearby tendon or a donor graft with the torn ligament.