Published On: Wed, Aug 25th, 2021

How Physiotherapy Can Help Treat Ligament Tears

The fibrous connective tissues found between cartilage and bone are known as ligaments. A ligament tear may occur if a person sustains a high-impact injury or suffers a fall. 

Physiotherapy may involve various strengthening exercises that can help someone who suffers from ligament tears. Here, we will focus on how physiotherapy can help a patient recover after having sustained a ligament tear.

photo/ Sasin Tipchai

Common Ligament Injuries and Disorders

Ligament injuries are common in the ankles and knees, but may also occur in the back, shoulder, thumb, neck, and/or wrist. 

Ligaments serve as a type of glue that holds the body together. A ligament tear can make life very debilitating and painful. The patient may require crutches in order to walk after having torn their ACL, for instance,

The anterior cruciate ligament connects to the femur and tibia in order to form the knee joint in the body. The ACL is responsible for stabilizing the knee, ensuring that the tibia does not slide forward. An ACL injury can end the career of a professional athlete if serious.

A medial collateral ligament tear can be very serious. It involves an injury to the ligaments in the knee. Any activity that places heavy strain on the knees, such as skiing, may lead to an MCL tear. Fortunately, many MCL tears will heal without the need for surgery.

The posterior cruciate ligament stabilizes the tibia, ensuring that the tibia does not bend too far backwards. A PCL tear may heal without treatment if it is partial. However, some may be serious and may require medical treatment.

The lateral collateral ligament helps control sideways motions of the person’s knees. It connects the fibula to the femur, and an LCL injury may cause immobility and instability issues that can be quite painful.

Shoulder ligament injuries may involve the tearing of the ligaments that affix the clavicle to the scapula. If you fall on your hand or receive a serious impact on your shoulder, you may experience a shoulder separation injury.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when there is inflammation and pain involving the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia consists of a band of connective tissue that connects the toes to the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis is also sometimes referred to as “jogger’s heel.”

Elbow ligament injuries may involve a minor sprain, a complete tear, or a partial tear. The damage may be acute or chronic, and many baseball pitchers suffer from elbow ligament injuries due to excessive pitching.

Causes and Symptoms of Ligament Tears

The major causes of ligament tears include sporting injuries, sudden turning, an injury to the side of the knee, and awkward landings after a jump.

Common symptoms include muscle spasms, sudden and severe pain, inability to move without pain, and joint looseness. 

Some patients also experience swelling and pain when they place any pressure or weight on the injured site. You may also hear a loud sound at the time that the tear took place.

Benefits of Doing Physiotherapy

Your physiotherapist will carefully examine you to determine why, how, and when your injury occurred. After they have assessed your condition and gone over your medical reports, they will formulate a customized treatment plan for you.

The plan will also include long-term recovery goals and be tailored according to the severity of your injury.

Physiotherapy is designed to facilitate easier motion and reduce pain and inflammation. It will also help boost your balance and stability and prevent the need for surgery or prescription drugs.

Therapeutic modalities that may be used include TENs, interferential current, and ultrasound to help control pain and accelerate the healing process.

Recovery may be accelerated by adding heat to the injury site, as heat will increase blood flow. Ice may also be combined with heat to control pain.

Therapeutic taping may also be used to help the patient. Tape may be used to provide support and compression and may also help relax the injured muscle.

Self or manual stretching exercises may also be recommended or administered. The stretching exercises may loosen and lengthen the muscles. You may notice an improvement in your range of motion and flexibility afterwards.

As your injured muscle heals, you may be told to implement more complex muscle strengthening exercises increasingly. The end goal is to get you back to work and your previous activities quicker and prevent the injury from occurring again in the future.

A trained physiotherapist helps patients return to their pre-injury quality of life without the need for powerful painkillers or invasive procedures.

Returning to Normal

Ligament tears are caused by sports injuries or unusual falls, turns, or jumps. Pain, swelling, joint looseness, and difficulty moving are some of the most common symptoms.

A physiotherapist will custom tailor exercises for you and use specialized tools and diagnostic equipment to identify the root cause of your injury and treat it without the need for surgery.

Author: Digital Solutions


3 Causes and 3 Solutions for a Torn Ligament in Knee | Rothman Orthopaedic Institute

Common Ligament Injuries and Disorders (visiblebody.com)

Sports Ligament Injury: Types & Treatment | Banner Health

How Physiotherapy Helps You Recover From Muscle Strains | Lakeview Physio in Calgary, AB


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