Physical therapy treatment in Ligament Injuries

Physical therapy treatment in Ligament Injuries

Physical therapy treatment in Ligament Injuries

Human body consists of approximately 900 ligaments i.e over 4 times the number of bones in our body. Ligaments are bands of tough elastic tissue around the joints comprising knees, elbows, ankles, shoulders, and various other joints. They connect various bones of the body and provide joints support to conduct all movements. Tearing or overstretching ligaments can result in unstable joints.

Traumatic injuries can cause tearing of ligaments resulting in either partial or complete ligament discontinuities. Knee and ankle ligaments are torn commonly because these joints bear weight of the entire body. In these cases opting for physical therapy tends to be an effective treatment.

In the process of physical therapy, the primary intervention starts with R.I.C.E that stands for Rest, Ice, Compress & Elevate the joint. That is followed by grading the injury, which needs a proper diagnosis before instituting a physical therapy action.

The modalities for the treatment include:

  • Moving your joint through a range of motion
  • Crutch support with greater weight-bearing activities
  • Bracing and splinting
  • Strengthening ancillary muscles around the joint
  • Goal-directed therapy for specific ligament injuries

Ligament injury are divided in following 3 grades-

  • In grade 1, injury usually heals within a few weeks. Resting from painful activity, icing the injury, and some anti-inflammatory medications are useful. Physical therapy will help to hasten the healing process via electrical modalities, massage, & exercise. Maximal ligament strength will occur after six weeks when the collagen fibers have matured.
  • In grade 2, injury is more significant & 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.
  • In grade 3, injury is critical as it often requires an opinion from an Orthopedic Surgeon to determine surgical repair. If a requirement for surgery arises, your surgeon and physical therapist guide your rehabilitation.

In non-surgical ligament injuries, protection of the damage from weight-bearing stresses is essential. In such scenarios, physical therapy plays a vital role in getting the patient back to baseline status, stabilizing the joint, reducing pain, 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.

Physical therapy helps with ligament injuries with advanced techniques- backed by physical therapy expertise. Physical therapists aim to catalyze the healing process; also it tends to be a gradual process for ligament repairs to return to normal activities for every patient.

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