Ligament Injury

FAQs on Treatment for Ligament Injury in Oklahoma

 

A ligament is a short band of flexible, tough tissue that is made of many individual fibers. Ligaments connect bones together and are found throughout the body. These structures also provide stability and strength to the joint.

 

What is a torn ligament?

 

Ligament injuries are more common in athletes and active people. The knee and ankle are quite vulnerable to torn ligaments. Ligaments are strained when a joint is stressed beyond its usual range, and injury occurs from landing awkwardly, twisting, or falling. Some ligament injuries cause the structure to completely tear from the bone.

 

What are the grades of ligament injury?

 

The three grades of ligament injury include:

 

  • Grade 1: Mild ligament tear
  • Grade 2: Moderate ligament tear
  • Grade 3: Severe or ruptured ligament tear

 

Which ligaments are most often injured?

 

There are four major knee ligaments that are subject to injury quite often. These include:

 

  • Anterior cruciate ligament – Located near the center of the knee and controls forward tibia movement and rotation.
  • Posterior cruciate ligament – This ligament is located at the back of the need and controls backward tibia movement.
  • Medical collateral ligament – This ligament gives stability to the inner knee.
  • Lateral collateral ligament – This structure gives stability to outer knee.

 

Other commonly injured ligaments are:

 

  • Medial and lateral epicondyles – Ligament injury of the elbow.
  • Rotator cuff – Ligaments, muscle, and tendon structures of the shoulder.
  • Ankle ligaments – Structures that hold ankle bones and lower leg bones in place.

 

How are ligaments injured?

 

One of the most common ligaments injured is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This ligament is often stretched or torn during a sudden twisting motion. People at high risk for this type of injury are football players, basketball players, and skiers. Ligaments of the shoulder can be torn by lifting too much or from trauma. The medial collateral ligament is injured more often than the lateral. These ligaments are injured from blows to the outer side.

 

What are the symptoms of ligament injury?

 

Depending on the ligament injured, symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, limp with gait, and bruising.

 

How are ligament injuries diagnosed?

 

Depending on the ligament injury site, the physician will take a medical history, conduct a physical examination, and do some diagnostic testing. These include:

 

  • X-rays – A diagnostic test the uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, organs and bones.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging – Called an MRI scan, this test uses large magnets, radiofrequency energy, and a computer to produce images of the ligament and other structures.
  • Arthroscopy – This procedure involves making a small incision and inserting an arthroscope (tiny tube with a camera) into the joint to evaluate ligament injury.

 

How are ligament injuries treated?

 

A new, innovative treatment for ligament injuries is stem cell therapy. Stem cells contain growth factors. When administered to the site of injury, they can enhance the repair of tissues. Stem cells are often introduced at the site of ligament tearing during surgery, when the ligament is being reconnected to the bone.

 

Stem cells are primitive cells that can transform into bone, tendon, cartilage, and ligament. These cells have the potential to mediate and regenerate sites of tissue damage by generating new, health cells. As we age, the body recruits enough stem cells to the site of injury to replace/repair damaged tissue.

 

Resources

Rizzello G, Longo UG, Petrillo S, et al. (2012). Growth Factors and Stem Cells for the Management of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears. Open Orthop Journ, 6, 525-530.

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