In our musculoskeletal system, ligaments are structures made up of strong collagenous and fibrous connective tissue, that connect your bones to each other. Your ligaments essentially serve as the glue holding everything together, and most importantly, enabling our joints to have the mobility and support for daily movement.
Unfortunately, ligaments, especially in the knee and shoulder, are extremely prone to injury, particularly for those who play sports. Some of the common injuries to these ligaments are called ligament disruptions, or tears.
Disruption in medical terms, means tearing, or any sort of interruption of the ligament's fibers, which can depend on the severity of the injury. Sprains and tears are the most common, although they vary in severity.
For instance, ankle sprains are classified in three grades:
- Grade I: mild degree of swelling and stretch has occurred to the ligaments. Putting weight on the ankle is still possible.
- Grade II: moderate swelling and an incomplete tearing of ligaments, also mild instability may be present along with pain. Putting weight on it may still be possible.
- Grade III: severe swelling and pain, complete rupture (disruption) of at least one ligament, causing severe instability and cannot put weight on it.
Ligament disruptions are also common occurrences within the knee. Within the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a tough band of tissue joining the thigh bone to the shin bone at the knee joint, providing much needed stability. It runs diagonally through the inside of the knee, and when there is too much stress on the ligaments, it can result in a sprain or worse, the ligaments can be stretched too far or snap, causing the ACL to tear.
Disruption of any of the knee ligaments often leads to major instability and chronic pain, leading to the need for surgical treatment. There are various types of ligament disruptions, but most the most common are a sprain or tear.
To diagnose and treat ligament disruptions and tears, your doctor will evaluate your injury by checking the severity of your instability. An MRI will be done to get a closer look at the injured joint. If the diagnosis is a disruption or tear of a ligament, arthroscopic surgery can be done to repair the torn ligaments. Recovery can be lengthy for this injury, and will most likely require extensive rehabilitation, such as physical therapy.
If you suffer a ligament injury, Spectrum Orthopaedics has a team of surgeons who are specialists in treating ligament disruptions and tears. We offer the latest treatments and therapies, including minimally invasive surgical methods such as arthroscopy. With these state-of-the-art procedures, we can minimize the pain, reduce scarring, and get you back to living your life as quickly as possible.