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What is ligament tear

Ligaments are short, tough, flexible bands of tissue which connect the bones of the body together. They help provide a limit to the motion of the joints. When a joint is stressed beyond its normal range it causes a ligament injury like a tear. Twisting or overstretching a joint beyond its limits are the common causes of a ligament tear.

Possible Causes:

Ligament tears commonly affect the knees. Robust bands of protective tissue called ligaments join femur to the tibia to give stable joint. Both the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connect your thighbone to your shinbone. PCL prevents the tibia from sliding backwards relative to the femur while ACL resists abnormal forward movement of the tibia and give rotational stability to the knee.

Possible causes of knee ligament tears are injuries during sports mainly involving twisting and falls. You could also suffer from ligament tears in the foot or ankle or in the arm.

Risk Factors: 

A ligament tear is likely if:

  • You play contact sports and get injured. Athletes in sports such as football are most vulnerable.
  • You have a motor vehicle accident.
  • Simple falls that involve twisting injury to the joint.

Signs & Symptoms: 

  • Pain in the knee that may make you limp while walking.
  • Swelling immediately after the accident.
  • Your knee doesn’t feel stable, you feel as if it may buckle under you.

As time passes, pain and swelling may improve but after longer time, your pain may increase and your knee may feel more unstable.

Diagnosis: 

The diagnosis begins with careful history taking detailing the mechanism of injury. Physical examination to check for any fluid in the joint which may be due to bleeding; special bedside joint stability tests will be done by the specialist to elicit and assess degree of any ligament injury. Following that, our specialist may recommend more tests. You can get all these diagnostics done at Medcare:

  • An X-ray to check for bone fractures. Ligament injuries can sometimes cause avulsion fractures in which small pieces of bone which are attached to it break away.
  • MRI scan is the gold standard to assess joint ligaments injury and will show if there is an associated cartilage injury.

Treatment Options: 

At Medcare, your ligament tear treatment will be given based on the severity of the injury, your age, and your functional demands including if you wish to do pivoting sports in the future. Usually, our doctors prescribe pain killers followed by physiotherapy. You may need to use crutches or braces during the period that your injury is healing.

Arthroscopic surgery, which is a minimally invasive procedure, may be required to reconstruct your torn ligament usually using your own tendons if the ligament tear is severe and if you wish to continue doing sports in the future. 

Your surgeon will also deal with any fracture or more commonly cartilage injury at the same setting. You will be discharged home the following day after the surgery using crutches and may need a knee brace for a few weeks after surgery. 

Postoperatively, Medcare specialists will supervise intense and structured physiotherapy and rehabilitation protocol to enhance your recovery and will be with you in every step of your recovery till you go back to your normal life and sports providing advice all the way through.

FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • How will I know when I have a ligament tear?

    A: If you have twisting injury to your knee followed by pain and or swelling, it is probably a ligament tear and you need to visit your doctor.

  • Which foods will make my ligaments strong?

    A: No specific food will prevent ligament injury if you twist your knee with enough force. Generally, foods that contain vitamin C such as bell peppers, guava, kale, kiwi, broccoli, berries, oranges and grapefruit, as well as foods that contain magnesium such as spinach, almonds, peanuts, cashews, soymilk, black beans and avocado, are recommended. 

    Foods that contain zinc such as oysters, beef, lobster, chicken, cashews and chickpeas improve immunity and help tissue building.

  • I need an arthroscopic knee surgery. How long will it take me to recover?

    A: Depending on you condition and type of injury this duration varies. After an arthroscopic knee surgery to reconstruct anterior cruciate ligament, usually one day of hospital stay is recommended and your surgeon is likely to advise you to keep your leg elevated for a few days. 

    You will need to visit the hospital to change the dressing of the wound. Ask your surgeon and doctor about follow up visits and schedule appointments accordingly. You may need crutches for about 4-6 weeks. 

    Once your knee starts to recover, your doctor will recommend that you start physiotherapy. A good physiotherapist will help you to restore the full range of motion and build muscle strength. The time taken for this varies from person-to-person, but you should expect a recovery time of 4 to 6 weeks. 

    If you have arthroscopic knee surgery to reconstruct the cruciate ligament along with repair or clean torn cartilages, this time frame can be longer.

  • How serious is ligament tear?

    A: A ligament tear is the most severe kind of ligament injury. It occurs when the fibrous tissues connecting your bones are overstretched and torn. There are several types of ligament tears, and the right treatment is recommended depending on the severity of the damage. 

    Since the tear also determines the level of pain and inflammation, it could impact the course of treatment. For some, just a few rehabilitation exercises and self-care will help heal the injury. However, for acute ligament tears, such as the ACL tear, surgery along with rehab exercises could be recommended. 

    Want to know if your ligament tear is severe? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • Can a torn ligament heal on its own?

    A: There are various degrees of a ligament tear, and pain and inflammation tend to vary depending on the damage. If the tear is a mild, grade 1 tear, in which the ligament is stretched but not completely torn, it is likely to heal on its own within a few weeks with the right rehabilitation exercises, rest, and self-care. 

    However, if you experience a significant ligament tear, such as an ACL or a PCL, then surgery along with rehab exercises is usually the recommended treatment to completely repair the ligament.

    Don’t ignore a ligament tear as it could lead to severe issues later in life. Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • How long does it take to heal a torn ligament?

    A: A torn ligament causes a lot of pain and restrictions. Often athletes and those who perform strenuous exercises can tear their ligament. But that doesn’t mean that certain everyday activities, such as jerking or moving the knee incorrectly cannot cause a ligament tear. 

    If the damage is mild, you can return to normal functioning within a month or two with the right physiotherapy. However, if your doctor recommends surgery, it can take up to a few months for the ligament to heal completely. Typically, you can return to playing sports within six to nine months if you follow the right rehabilitation regimen.

    It also depends on the grade and the site of the injury. Higher grades take more time. Ligaments in major ligaments may not heal as well so may require surgical intervention.

    Want treatment for your torn ligament? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • Can I avoid surgery?

    A: Surgery for a torn ligament is recommended only if it is a severe case, such as a grade III tear. A surgery essentially helps to reconstruct the torn ligament and allows you to resume regular activity and even get back to sports as early as six months. 

    Delaying or avoiding surgery can be a hurdle later on as reconstructing the torn tissue or fixing the damage to the joint might not be entirely possible. It could also lead to knee and joint issues in the future. Therefore, surgery is ideal for significantly reversing the damage and enabling you to live a pain-free life.

    Want treatment for your ligament tear? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • What causes ankle instability?

    A: When the outer part of the ankle gives out while running or performing strenuous activities such as football, basketball, etc., the resulting condition is known as ankle instability. 

    The primary cause of ankle instability is a torn ligament which supports the bone and has not healed correctly. This usually happens due to an ankle sprain. People who often sprain their ankles are at a higher risk of getting ankle instability. Although it’s quite a common condition, it needs proper care and treatment to avoid increased pressure on the ankles and further injuries.

    Are you looking for an effective treatment for ankle instability? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • When should I go to the doctor for ankle pain?

    A: Even a single wrong step while walking can cause ankle pain, but it is not alarming in most cases. However; if the pain is acute and persistent, it may be a sign of a severe issue. 

    You should not take the pain lightly if your ankle is looking deformed or different or if it is turning red or purple. If your ankle is warmer than the rest of your body or if you find it difficult to put weight on your foot, you should visit a doctor immediately.

    Need an accurate diagnosis and treatment for your ankle pain? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • How can you tell if you tore a ligament in your ankle?

    A: A torn ankle ligament can severely affect your everyday life due to the pain associated with it. A major ligament tear needs extensive care and therapy, but most people do not realise that it’s a ligament tear and end up resorting to superficial treatment. 

    To avoid this mistake, keep in mind some warning signs of a ligament tear such as swelling, bruises, the injured area is incredibly tender to touch, etc. Lastly, if you feel extreme ankle instability, wherein even slight movement of the feet could make it wobble; consult a doctor at the earliest.

    Need treatment for your ligament tear? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • What can cause ankle pain without injury?

    A: While injuries are a prominent cause of ankle instability and pain, there are numerous other reasons why you can experience ankle pain. For instance, if you have arthritis, you will experience ankle pain along with knee issues. 

    Similarly, gout, joint inflammation and infections are a few other causes of ankle pain. Most of these conditions are brought on by the degenerative forces of age and are hereditary. However, there are numerous ways to prevent and treat the pain depending on your condition.

    Want to know the reason behind your ankle pain and manage it? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • How do I know if I tore a ligament in my foot?

    A: A torn ligament in the foot can severely hamper your everyday activities. To recognise a torn ligament in the foot, look for symptoms such as shooting pain, tenderness, especially near the arch of the foot; etc. 

    Other symptoms include swelling or bruising of the foot, sharp pain while walking or moving your feet and an inability to support your body weight on the injured foot. If you notice any or a combination of these symptoms, you must immediately visit a doctor as the ligament tear could be a severe Grade III tear which could worsen if left untreated.

    Need treatment for your ligament tear? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

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