Did you know that a human body consists of approximately 900 ligaments? That’s certainly over 4 times the number of bones in your body. But wait, what are ligaments? They are bands of tough elastic tissue around your joints comprising your knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders, and other joints.
Their purpose is to connect various bones of the body and provide your joints support to conduct all movements. Overstretching or tearing them can result in unstable joints.
Ligaments often experience a tear during traumatic injuries resulting in either partial or complete ligament discontinuities. The most common torn ligaments are knee and ankle ligaments because these joints bear weight of the entire body. In such a scenario opting for physiotherapy treatments is an effective treatment.
The primary intervention starts with R.I.C.E that stands for Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate the joint. That is followed by grading the injury, which needs a proper diagnosis before instituting a physiotherapy action.
The modalities for the treatment include:
Crutch support with greater weight-bearing activities
Moving your joint through a range of motion
Bracing and splinting
Strengthening ancillary muscles around the joint
Goal-directed therapy for specific ligament injuries
There are 3 grades of ligament injury:
Grade I: The injury at this grade usually heals within a few weeks. Resting from painful activity, icing the injury, and some anti-inflammatory medications are useful. Physiotherapy will help to hasten the healing process via electrical modalities, massage, and exercise. Maximal ligament strength will occur after six weeks when the collagen fibers have matured.
Grade II: In this state, the injury is more significant and disabling. These injuries require load protection during the early healing phase. Depending on the ligament injury, this may include using a weight-bearing brace, or some supportive taping is common in early treatment. That helps to ease the pain and avoid stretching of the healing ligament.
Grade III: The injury is critical in this grade as it often requires an opinion from an Orthopaedic Surgeon to determine surgical repair. If a requirement for surgery arises, your surgeon and physiotherapist guide your rehabilitation.
In non-surgical ligament injuries, protection of the damage from weight-bearing stresses is essential. In such scenarios, physiotherapy plays a vital role in getting the patient back to baseline status, reducing pain, stabilizing the joint, and improving mobility.
Depending upon the ligament injury, a full activity level can take 3 to 4 months or even up to 12 months. Very severe ligament injuries can even take longer.
Physiotherapy helps with ligament injuries with advanced techniques- backed by expertise. Therapists aim to catalyze the healing process. You need to be cautious with ligament injuries to lead to developing arthritis if not appropriately rehabbed. It is a condition where the cartilage gets damaged, and the bones begin to rub against each other. Rehabilitation tends to be a gradual process for ligament repairs to return to normal activities for every patient.
If you like this article, you would also like our workshop that speaks more on physiotherapy.
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