While a torn ligament can mend on its own, it is important to get medical care to ensure that the damaged region heals properly and without significant scarring. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be able to return to sports activities in several months if you are able to begin physical therapy at the first signs of healing.
In general, the goal for injured ligaments is to allow them to heal with minimal damage to the joint capsule or other tissues. Ligaments serve three main purposes: to connect two bones together, to provide stability to joints, and as a force transducer between muscles and bones. In other words, they help stabilize bodies while allowing for movement and protecting organs within the body's cavity (such as muscles and lungs).
Ligaments are made up of bundles of collagen fibers and many blood vessels and nerves. They can grow back after injury, but only if they have not been torn or stretched too far. If you play sports that involve cutting or pivoting movements near the end of a swing or pitch, for example, then your ulnar collateral ligament will need to be treated by a professional athlete trainer. This important ligament keeps the elbow joint stable while allowing for movement of the forearm. A severe case of ulnar collateral ligament damage could lead to arthritis of the elbow joint.
What Is the Treatment for a Torn Ligament?
A torn ligament is a severe sprain that causes pain, inflammation, bruising, and ankle instability, making walking difficult and agonizing. Recovery from a damaged ligament can take many weeks and should be done under the direction of a medical professional. The patient will need to rest the injured leg and use crutches or a walker for stability while healing takes place.
Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another, usually maintaining alignment of two bones in your body. There are several ligaments around the knee that maintain the stability of the joint: the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL). Damage to any of these ligaments can cause instability of the knee joint, which can lead to further injury as other tissues try to compensate for the lack of stability.
All ligaments have blood vessels and nerves running through them that can be injured during a sprain. However only the ACL and PCL require surgery to repair because the others can heal with rest and physical therapy. A patient may experience pain when moving their knee and having no ligament support could lead to further damage of the articular cartilage and need for surgery.
The hip has several ligaments including the labrum and acetabular ligaments that help stabilize the joint.
When injured ligaments are treated in a way that promotes excellent blood flow, they heal faster. This involves the use of ice, heat, correct mobility, improved hydration, and a variety of sports medicine technology such as NormaTec Recovery and the Graston method in the short term. In the long run, you want to restore muscle function through rehabilitation so your joint can get back into its normal position.
In the meantime, it's important not to do anything that might make the injury worse. Stay off the injured part and apply ice or cold packs if recommended by a doctor. You may also need to use a crutch or cane for support.
Once healed, repeat the same activities you stopped doing after your injury with no pain until you're back at full strength. It's important not to do any more damage by trying to return too soon.