Ligament tear

Last updated date: 28-Oct-2023

Originally Written in English

Ligament Tear

Ligament injuries are common in human joints during sports and trauma, and they put patients at risk for osteoarthritis soon after the injury. Ligament injuries can take many different forms, including a full tear, a partial tear, a stretch injury, or a functional change caused by an adjacent fracture. Whatever type of injury occurs, a certain sequence of events begins the degenerative cycle that leads to osteoarthritis.

The initial ligament injury is caused by a traumatic event that dislocates the joint. Injury to the capsule, fibrocartilage, and/or subchondral bone can occur alone or in combination with other joint structures. When the joint is stressed, the integrity of the joint is compromised, which affects the motion between the bones and alters the articular contact mechanics. The aberrant contact mechanics, together with the inflammatory cascade, affect the cartilage and underlying bone metabolism, disrupt the joint balance, promote wear, and increase shear stress. The joint's other structures are more vulnerable to injury as a result of the instability, exacerbating the condition.


Ligament Tear in Knee

Ligament Tear in Knee

The knee joint may become unsteady if ligaments are injured. A sports injury is a frequent reason of ligament damage. Knee movement is significantly restricted because of a damaged ligament. As a result, the leg is unable to rotate, twist, or pivot.

In the knee, there are four main ligaments. The ligaments that connect the femur to the tibia in the knee encompass:

  • The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It is a ligament that connects the knee to the (ACL). The ligament in the middle of the knee governs the tibia's rotation and forward movement.
  • The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). It is a ligament that runs from the knee to the ankle. The ligament in the middle of the knee governs the tibia's backward mobility.
  • The medial collateral ligament (MCL). The inner knees' stability is provided by this ligament.
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL). The outer knees' stability is provided by this ligament.


Cruciate Ligament Tear Causes

One of the most frequently injured ligaments is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). During a quick twisting movement, the ACL is frequently strained and/or torn (when the feet stay planted one way, but the knees turn the other way). ACL injuries are more common in activities like skiing, volleyball, and football.

A common ligament to be torn within the knee joint is the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). The PCL injury, on the other hand, is most commonly caused by a sudden, direct impact, such as in a vehicle accident or during a football contact


Cruciate Ligament Tear Symptoms

Cruciate ligament damage doesn't always end in pain. Alternatively, a popping sound may be heard as the injury happens, accompanied by the leg buckling as the sufferer attempts to stand on it, and swelling. However, each person may experience symptoms in exceedingly a different way.

The symptoms of a cruciate ligament injury can be confused with those of other disorders or conditions. Before making final judgments, always seek medical counsel.


Collateral Ligament Tear Causes

Injury to the medial collateral ligament is more frequent than injury to the lateral collateral ligament. Trauma to the external side of the knee, such as when playing football, frequently causes stretch and tear injuries to the collateral ligaments.


Collateral Ligament Tear Symptoms

A collateral ligament injury, like cruciate ligament injuries, causes the knee to pop and collapse, causing discomfort and swelling.

The symptoms of collateral ligament damage can be mistaken for those of other disorders or conditions. Before making final judgments, always seek medical counsel. 


Knee Ligament Tear Diagnosis

Knee Ligament Tear Diagnosis

Diagnostic techniques for knee ligament damage may include the following, in addition to a comprehensive medical history and physical examination:

  • X-ray. A diagnostic technique that produces images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film using invisible electromagnetic energy beams to exclude bone damage instead of, or in combination with, a ligament tear.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is a type of imaging that. A diagnostic procedure that produces comprehensive images of organs and structures within the body using a combination of powerful magnets, radio-frequencies, and a computer; can often diagnose damage or disease in bones and supporting ligaments or muscles.
  • Arthroscopy. A joint examination that involves minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. This surgery involves inserting a small, lighted optic tube (arthroscope) into the joint through a small cut. Images of the inside of the joint are displayed onto a screen and utilized to assess any degenerative or arthritic abnormalities in the joint, to identify bone disorders and tumors, and to localize the source of bone pain and inflammation.


Knee Ligament Tear Treatment

Knee Ligament Tear Treatment

You and your specialist will decide on the appropriate treatment for you based on which ligament is damaged, the degree of the tear, your lifestyle, and your symptoms. Nonsurgical alternatives include physical therapy, bracing, and painkillers. The following people are usually advised to have surgery:

  • If you are young and want to keep an active lifestyle
  • Play sports that require twisting movements (football)
  • Work that is physically demanding (policeman, fireman)
  • With everyday activity, the knee gives way.

ACL reconstruction is done with the help of a camera and tools that are placed through small cuts. After removing the damaged ligament, tunnels in the bone are bored to accept the new graft. This graft (which substitutes the old ligament) can be obtained from a donor or your own tissue, such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, or patellar tendon. Each choice has its own set of cons and bros. What is best for you will be determined by the surgeon.

The graft is prepared and inserted into the bone through drilled holes. After that, the new tendon is cemented into the bone to keep it in position while the ligament heals (usually takes about 6 months). The remainder of the knee is also examined, and any injury is addressed as needed.


Ankle Ligament Tear

Ankle Ligament Tear

Ligaments hold the different bones of the ankle joint together. They are triggered by a variety of calf muscles. The foot is stabilized by the ligament connection between the tibial and fibular bones, as well as the external and internal ligaments.

Ankle sprains or ligament injuries are typically classified as either high or low ankle sprains. Low ankle sprains are significantly more prevalent, and they occur when the ankle rolls inwards, causing the ligaments that connect the ankle to the fibula to tear. These injuries can affect the three ligaments on the outside of the ankle. These types of injuries are frequently treated without surgery. A high ankle sprain is less common than a low ankle sprain, but it is more dangerous and may require surgery. The tight ligaments that keep the two lower leg bones together are severed in a high ankle sprain. This is known as a syndesmosis lesion, and it can cause the two bones to separate.


Ankle Ligament Tear causes

One of the most popular sports injuries is a ligament tear or rupture in the ankle joint. It usually happens when the ankle is twisted or rolled. A ruptured ligament is usually painful and produces swelling in the affected foot, preventing patients from walking without pain.

An ankle ligament rupture occurs in 80 percent of patients as a result of the ankle rolling while walking. Ligament rupture can also be caused by external forces. During a football mistake, this is frequently the case. Ball sports such as tennis, basketball, and volleyball, in general, have a significant risk of injury. Furthermore, these types of accidents might result in bone fractures or joint injuries. Tendons can be harmed as well.


Ankle Ligament Tear Symptoms

A sharp shooting pain usually happens after the ankle rolls. Some people have reported hearing a crunching or breaking noise. Severe swelling and bruising are the initial indicators of a ligament tear. The bruising from a low ankle sprain might spread to the foot and toes. A significant swelling on the outside of the ankle is possible. Because of the pain, you may not be able to put your entire weight on the foot. A sense of insecurity can also occur at times.


What to Do When You Have a Suspected Torn Ankle Ligament?

It is best to follow the RICE approach to avoid further injury:

  • Rest. As soon as possible, discontinue putting weight on the joint.
  • Ice. Apply ice to the injured area to reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Compression and elevation. wrap the leg in a compression bandage and elevate it. You can reduce the swelling in the ankle joint by taking these steps.

Furthermore, you should see a doctor as soon as possible so that they can determine the nature and severity of the injuries.


Ankle Ligament Tear Diagnosis

Ankle Ligament Tear Diagnosis

Doctors ask that you characterize the nature of the injury in detail and check the ankle joint properly in order to establish an accurate diagnosis. Scans will very certainly be needed to confirm that the diagnosis is correct. This aids in determining the kind and degree of the injury, as well as the best treatment option.

An X-ray examination may be performed to rule out any bone injury. Plain X-rays are necessary to rule out a fracture, but in a routine ankle sprain or ligament tear, they often appear normal. X-rays will not be able to distinguish between a high- or low-grade ligament tear, cartilage damage, or minor fractures. MRI scans are frequently necessary for additional investigation since they may give detailed images of the body that X-rays cannot.


Ankle Ligament Tear Treatment

Ankle Ligament Tear Treatment

Doctors recommend the most adequate treatment for you depending on the diagnosis. In many cases, a ligament tear in the ankle joint can be properly treated using conservative approaches. Crutches, ankle splints, braces, or even a walker boot may be required. The importance of physiotherapy in the rehabilitation of the ankle cannot be overstated.

If symptoms continue despite conservative management, surgical treatment for a low ankle sprain or ligament injury may be recommended. Surgery is generally the best treatment for an unstable syndesmosis or a high ankle sprain.

Even after treatment, ankle instability can occur in up to 25% of ligament damage in low ankle sprains. If this is the case, a ligament repair operation may be a reasonable option. Brostrom lateral ligament repair is the term for this procedure. The damaged ligaments are reconstructed during an open surgery through a small cut or incision on the outside of the ankle. The ligaments may be anchored to the bone with small metallic pins.

To allow the ligaments to properly heal, you will need to wear a boot for 6 weeks. During that period, crutches may be used. Ankle ligament surgery is quite effective at restoring stability, and the ligaments usually heal without complications.

Ankle joint ligament injuries usually heal without complications. However, you must be patient. In the first few days and weeks, just use the underarm crutches for support. Only once the symptoms have disappeared can you benefit from intensive physical therapy and foot exercise. After that, gradually increase the weight on the foot.


Wrist Ligament Tear

Wrist Ligament Tear

The ligaments of the wrist connect the eight bones of the wrist, commonly known as carpal bones. These tight ligaments also connect the carpal bones to the ulna and radius bones of the forearm, as well as the metacarpal bones. The wrist ligaments are necessary for hand motions such as dorsiflexion, palmar flexion (downward movement of the hand), and radial and ulnar deviation.

The wrist ligament, together with the rest of the hand's tendons and ligaments, stabilizes the wrist and allows for mobility at the wrist joint. Injury to the ligament can make it difficult to maintain appropriate wrist support and can also make it difficult to move the hand properly. At the base of the wrist, a frequent hand ligament injury occurs. The scapholunate ligament is injured in this condition. The scaphoid and lunate bones (the proximal bones of the carpals) are interconnected by this ligament, which forms the palm's base.


Wrist Ligament Tear Causes

A torn wrist ligament can happen to anyone, although it is more prevalent in professional athletes including footballers, swimmers, gymnastics, golfers, strong weightlifters, and baseball players.

Several factors might produce injury to the wrist ligament. Repetitive movement of the hand, acute trauma from torquing movement due to terrible falls, wear and tear, and excessive, uneven weight on the joint are some of the reasons for torn wrist ligaments.

A fall on an outstretched hand is the most prevalent cause of a torn wrist ligament. When this occurs, the degree of injury to the wrist ligament is determined by the individual's strength (i.e., whether the hand can bear the body's weight), pre-existing diseases affecting the wrist joint, and other factors. The majority of ligament injuries do not always lead to a damaged ligament. Wrist sprains can happen in some conditions.


Wrist Ligament Tear Symptoms

Wrist ligament damage can result in extreme pain and swelling, as well as decreased range of motion, soreness, bruising, and discoloration (called bruises). If the ligament is not repaired, the pain and swelling will intensify. The decrease in wrist range of motion might compromise the hand's flexibility, making it harder for patients to perform routine tasks.

A damaged wrist ligament might raise the risk of osteoarthritis if left untreated. Osteoarthritis is a significant joint disease that causes excruciating pain and limits wrist mobility.


Wrist Ligament Tear Diagnosis

Wrist Ligament Tear Diagnosis

A complete medical evaluation, occupational history, and physical examination are required to diagnose a torn wrist ligament. Patients will be assessed for wrist edema, range of motion, muscle grip strength, alignment, and joint stability by doctors.

Bone fractures, carpal alignment, and torn ligaments can all be assessed with X-rays and MRI scans of the wrists. Bone fractures and carpal alignments can be seen on X-ray scans of the wrist. A special dye, called an arthrogram, is injected into the wrist during arthrography, and it can be used in conjunction with MRI scans to boost the diagnosis of a torn wrist ligament.


Wrist Ligament Tear Treatment

Wrist Ligament Tear Treatment

It is critical to treat a torn wrist ligament as soon as possible. It can cause long-term damage to nerves, tendons, bones, and muscles if left untreated.

  • Non-Surgical Treatment

The most common non-surgical technique for managing a torn wrist ligament is to reduce the severity of the injury's symptoms. Splinting the injured wrists for four to six weeks can relieve discomfort, swelling, and tenderness in some patients. The wearing of a splint for an extended period of time might create joint stiffness.

For pain and inflammation control, doctors can prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen. Physical treatment, such as stretching and strengthening exercises, can help the wrist joint's range of motion, increase grip strength, and accelerate ligament recovery.

  • Surgical Treatment

Surgery is usually needed in severe cases of ruptured wrist ligaments or when non-surgical therapy methods have failed. Arthroscopy is the most common surgical treatment for healing a damaged wrist ligament.

Arthroscopic surgery is a treatment that is less invasive. It entails the implantation of a small camera into the wrist through a small cut. Hand surgeons can use wrist arthroscopy to see the bones and ligaments of the wrist and facilitate ligament reconstruction.

The placement of metallic pins to maintain the bones of the wrist while the ligaments recover is known as pinning repair. After the tissues have healed, the pins are routinely withdrawn. When the damage is still new, this technique is more effective.

Ligament injuries that happened a significant period before treatment (usually over six months) are frequently indicated for reconstruction repair. A tendon transplant is used to replace the injured ligament in this treatment. Metallic pins are used to keep the wrist immobile during the healing period.

When there is arthritis in the wrist joint, fusion repair is used. To reduce joint pain while in movement, the bones of the wrist joint are fused.


Other Less Common Ligaments Tear

Other frequent sites of ligament tears, as well as the potential causes, include:

  • Thumb. The ulnar collateral ligament can be ruptured when skiing (a condition known as skier's thumb) or during a fall when the thumb is flexed in an extreme position.
  • Neck. Whiplash injuries, such as those experienced in a vehicle collision, can tear the ligaments in the neck. The hard speed-and-stop movement injuries the cervical spine, which is the section of the spine that runs through the neck. A ligament tear is only one of the symptoms of a whiplash injury. Muscles, nerves, and bones may also be damaged.
  • Back. Lifting something which is too weighty might tear the ligaments in the back.


How Do You Prevent Ligaments Tear?

Ligaments Tear Prevention

To avoid a torn ligament injury, there are a few things you can do. Most essential, stretch and practice muscle-strengthening activities. This aids in the prevention of tendonitis and tears. Muscles that aren't strong will overcompensate, leading to tears.

Strengthening the muscles allows them to act as shock absorbers. Before you begin and after you finish a workout, do some warm-up and cool-down activities. Exercise boosts blood flow to the muscles, which reduces the risk of injury.



An excessive motion, like a robust twisting of a joint, can induce a ligament tear. When a rip occurs, it usually generates instant discomfort and even a popping sound at the damage site. The afflicted site may become unsteady based on the intensity of the injury.

The initial management for a ligament injury is R.I.C.E. protocol (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).  Different treatment choices are involved including braces, splints, physiotherapy, and other nonsurgical means. Surgery may be required when the nonsurgical management is failed or the injury is severe.