What is ligament injury?
Ligaments are defines as the short band-like flexible tissues that are made up of individual fibers that connect the bones together. Most of the bones in the body are connected by ligaments. They perform a necessary function of limiting the unwanted amount of movement between joint to prevent them from becoming unstable and losing balance. It also provides input to the brain as about which position the joint is in without having to look at it. They are classified as dense tissues and are made up of a protein substance called collagen which gives them great tensile strength.
As the function of a ligament is to limit unwanted movement, a ligament injury can occur when the ligament is stretched beyond its normal range. When the ligament is stretched beyond the normal range to its full limit, it may tear apart from the bone. The most common ligament injury occurs at knee joint and ankle joint because these are weight-bearing joints and are under high stress. Athletes and sportsmen are most susceptible to a ligament injury. Commonly a twisted joint or awkward landing leads to a ligament injury. Other causes may be related to sports specific activity.
Types of Ligament Injury
A ligament injury or a tear is defined by the amount of the severity of the tear. Surgeons distinguish a ligament injury by three grades. They are as follows:
- Grade I tear
The first type of injury is the Grade I injury which is also called a mild sprain. It occurs when the ligaments are torn slightly and are still able to keep the balance of the joint.
- Grade II tear
The second type of ligament injury is Grade II which is called a moderate sprain. It occurs when the ligament is stretched is so much that it becomes loose but not torn. It is also called partial ligament tear. This is more serious and disabling than the grade I sprain.
- Grade III tear
The third type of ligament injury is Grade III injury or complete ligament tear. It occurs when the ligament is torn into two parts and the joint becomes unstable. It is a serious condition and the opinion of an orthopedic surgeon is required.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury (ACL)
The knee joint is one of the joints that are most vulnerable to a ligament injury. This is because of the fact that it bears the body weight and under pressure during movement or intense activity. The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the four crucial ligaments in the knee and is made of tough fiber. An ACL tear is very painful and 80% of the cases are from a sport-related injury.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
The Posterior Cruciate Ligament is located deep within the knee. It is one of the most common types of knee injury. It is stronger than the ACL and its main function is to prevent the shin bone from slipping back to the thigh bone. It also happens commonly during sports events or during motor accidents when there is an impact on the shin bone. It is less debilitating than the ACL injury and most people can function without the PCL and hence it is often not properly diagnosed and treated.
Ankle Ligament injury
An ankle ligament injury or ankle sprain may occur when the ligaments in the ankle or high ankle are stretched. Sprained ankle usually occurs while landing the foot awkwardly or twisting it.
A shoulder dislocation occurs when the ball of the upper arm is forced out of its socket. It leads to extreme pain and the patient is not able to move his or her arm. It may occur due to a very forceful external trauma or loose ligaments.
How is it Performed?
A mild ligament injury might first be treated with compression, medications, ice pack or physical exercise. However, if there is a complete tear or an ACL tear then it may require a ligament reconstruction surgery might be performed. This surgery is performed under general anesthesia after which the surgeon examines the knee for any other damage than the ACL tear using an arthroscope. After the examination is done, a graft is done with a tissue known as tendon either from the patient’s body (autograft) or from a donor’s body (allograft). The tendon is cut to the correct size and is then positioned in the knee and is fixed between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia). This technique is known as knee arthroscopy. The surgeon then checks for the mobility of the joints, after which the incision is closed and dressing is applied.
After the surgery, an incision is stitched and if it is dissolvable, it disappears in about 3 weeks. The patients are required to wash the knee area with mild soap and water and are given cryo/cuff bandages to wear which contains ice water to prevent swelling. Patients are required to perform physical exercises and they can usually resume normal activities after 3-4 weeks.
- What are the symptoms of an ACL tear?
There is a ‘pop’ sound when the tear takes place. Even if there is no pop sound, there is extreme pain and swelling following an ACL injury. The person may feel his knees giving away during running or walking on an uneven surface.
- Is it necessary to undergo a surgery after an ACL tear?
It depends on the severity of the tear. If a tear is severe then a surgery is required otherwise knee strengthening exercise and a good kneecap may help.
Surgery in Thane
Our hospital at Thane provides specialized care and treatment for all types of ligament injury like ACL, PCL tear, shoulder dislocation etc. Our team of an experienced surgeon with their vast knowledge and our highly trained medical staff ensures that a patient is properly treated. Our surgeons routinely perform such procedures and have high success rate with low risk. We have all modern equipment to facilitate all types of surgical procedures.