A ligament is a band of fibrous tissues that holds the two structures together and keeps them stable. These can connect bone to bone as well as bones to cartilage.
Ligaments are found throughout your body and are quite strong. Unfortunately, the ligament can be stretched or even torn. A torn ligament is a painful injury when an extreme force or sudden impact on the joint forces it out of its normal position, leading to a ligament tear.
The ligament tears are most common in your ankle, knee, wrist, thumb, neck, and back. The tear can be of various grades or levels – and the treatment for the ligament injury depends on the grade or level of the tear.
Let’s explore the grades of a ligament tear, how a torn ligament is treated, and where you can go for its treatment in Kansas City.
Grades of Ligament Tear
A ligament injury, otherwise known as a sprain injury, is graded into the following grades to describe the extent of the tear.
- Grade 1: This grade describes mild damage to the ligament with no significant tear.
- Grade 2: The grade 2 ligament tear describes a partial tear in the ligament with an abnormally loose joint.
- Grade 3: The grade 3 ligament tear is a severe sprain in which a ligament tears completely, and the joint becomes so unstable that you cannot use it.
Treatment of Ligament Tear
Generally, a mild or grade one tear in the ligament gets better with home measures like R.I.C.E. therapy.
- Rest: It’s best to stop any activity that stresses the injured joint to give the ligament enough time to heal.
- Ice: Apply ice packs or a frozen packet of veggies on your injured joint to minimize the swelling and pain in the joint. Remember to wrap these in a towel or cloth before application.
- Compression: Wrapping your injured joint with an elastic bandage can help further reduce the swelling on the joint
- Elevation: Raising the injured joint above the heart level can also help alleviate the swelling in the injured joint.
Pain resulting from a grade 1 ligament tear also responds well to over-the-counter medications like Advil (ibuprofen).
Braces, along with RICE therapy and medications, may be recommended for the treatment of partial tears in the ligament. Braces support your injured joint and give the ligament enough time to heal. It’s best to see a physical therapist a few days a week to help regain the full range of motion of the joint.
The grade 2 tear doesn’t always require surgery, but if you are experiencing severe pain or joint instability, your doctor will likely recommend surgery.
A grade 3 or complete tear in the ligament warrants surgical repair of the torn ligament or reconstruction surgery. During the surgical reconstruction, the torn ligament is removed and replaced with a graft – a graft is a replacement tissue, possibly a tendon, which is fixed in place of the torn ligament with the help of screws, buttons, or other devices.
It’s best to resume your physical therapy session after the surgery to restore the mobility and function of the joint.
Sports Medicine Doctor in Kansas City
A ligament tear is a sports injury that can keep you from playing or performing your favorite sports or activities if left untreated.
At Midwest Orthopaedics, we offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatments for torn ligaments. We also offer physical therapy to help our patients have quick, safe, and comfortable recoveries from various acute and chronic injuries, including ligament tears.
In addition to their Orthopedic Surgery Fellowships and board certifications, Drs. Sharpe and Wait both have additional Fellowships in Sports Medicine.
If you would like to see one of our sports medicine doctors or physical therapists, call us today at (913) 362-8317 or fill out our convenient online appointment request form.