Ligament Tear Treatment in Lafayette, LA
A ligament tear is an injury affecting a flexible band of fibrous tissue that connects bone to bone or bone to cartilage. By providing support and strength to a joint, a ligament helps keep the bones in proper alignment and prevents excessive movement.
While ligaments are very strong, they can be overstretched (sprained), sometimes to the point of tearing. Usually, this type of injury results from the extreme force applied during a fall or another high impact. The most commonly injured ligaments are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and medial collateral ligament (MCL) in the knee, as well as the ligaments in the wrists and ankles.
What Are the Symptoms of a Ligament Tear?
In addition to sudden and severe pain, a ligament tear may produce:
- A popping sound when the injury occurs
- A sensation of joint instability or looseness
- An inability to bear weight on the affected joint or limb without pain
- Swelling within 24 hours
How Is a Ligament Tear Treated?
A relatively minor ligament tear may resolve on its own with time. To promote healing and prevent further injuries, a physician may suggest:
- Protection — A brace can be worn to support and stabilize the joint.
- Rest — Weight-bearing activities should be avoided until they can be performed without pain.
- Ice applications — To reduce painful inflammation, an ice pack can be applied to the affected joint for 10 to 15 minutes every three to four hours as needed.
- Compression — To help control swelling, an elastic bandage can be applied to the affected joint.
- Elevation — The affected joint can be raised and supported with a pillow.
- Medication — Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve pain and swelling.
Additionally, a physician may suggest a program of stretching and strengthening exercises or a low-impact alternative activity, such as swimming, that can be safely performed during recovery.
In most cases, a ligament tear does not require surgical treatment. However, if a ligament is completely torn, reconstructive surgery may be considered.
If you’re interested in exploring your treatment options for a torn ligament, Peter D. Vizzi, MD, can help. Practicing in Lafayette, Louisiana, Dr. Vizzi is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who has more than 25 years of orthopedic experience. He is also a sports medicine specialist and avid athlete.
Contact Dr. Vizzi’s office in Lafayette, LA, to schedule an appointment to discuss your ligament tear.