Ligaments are the tough and flexible collagenous tissue connecting most of our bones and allowing varying degrees of movement. Stressing a ligament beyond its normal range can result in a ligament tear – what is commonly called a sprain.
Ligament tears are one of the most common types of injuries, usually occurring at the weight-bearing joints of the ankle or knee.
Athletes and the elderly are especially vulnerable to ligament tears. Falls, direct blows the joints, and sudden twisting are just a few examples of what can cause ligament injuries. If you suspect that you have injured a ligament, head to an orthopedic urgent care center immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of a Ligament Injury
Ligament injuries are graded according to severity, where grade 1 is considered a mild sprain and grade 3 is a complete tear.
Signs and symptoms of a ligament tear include:
- Severe swelling
- Joint instability
- Impaired functioning
Ligament injuries not only occur on the knees and ankles, but also on the shoulders, hand, wrist, and spine.
Treating Ligament Tears
The treatment you will receive for a ligament injury will depend on how severe the injury is. The site of the injury also plays a part in the type of treatment you receive.
While mild sprains heal on their own within a few weeks and usually require only rest and icing, ligament tears that are moderate to severe require a treatment plan. For instance, moderate ligament tears require a form of load protection such as assistive walking devices.
It really depends on the diagnosis of your orthopedic doctor and his or her recommendations. Treatment for ligament tears usually includes massage, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery.
Physical therapy is an important part of the treatment of moderate to severe ligament tears. It’s how you regain your strength and restore range of motion to the affected joint. Without it, you are making yourself vulnerable to further injury as a result of joint instability.
With physical therapy, you are gradually able to return to activities you enjoyed before the injury. Depending on the severity of your injury, a complete recovery can anywhere between 3 – 12 months.
Orthopedic Urgent Care Clinic in Columbia, MD
If you suspect that you have torn a ligament, don’t wait for your primary care doctor to become available. Visit Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland, where our advanced bone and joint specialists offer urgent care services to patients with orthopedic injuries such as ligament injuries.
We understand how acute orthopedic injuries occur at the most inopportune times. They do not follow doctors’ schedules. It is why we made urgent care available to you. If after a full assessment we determine that you need to visit the emergency room, we will arrange for you to receive emergency medical attention faster.
Our orthopedic urgent care clinic is open Fridays from 4 to 8 and Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm. Walk-ins are accepted. Appointments are not necessary. Feel free to give us a call at (443) 524-2577 if you have any questions about our urgent orthopedic services or to let us know ahead about your visit.