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What Are the Best Tips for Healing Ligament Injuries?

By Patti Kate
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Healing ligament injuries can be done through rest and physical therapy, which may be prescribed by a physician. For a torn or ruptured ligament of the arm or shoulder, one should avoid repetitive motion activities. Depending upon the severity of a ligament injury, treatment may also include ligament surgery to repair tears. Infrared heat therapy can be helpful in many cases, although consultation with a physician is recommended.

If muscles feel sore or stiff without being painful or tender to the touch, this may be due to overexertion or a simple strain. In many cases, a sprained ligament may require nothing more than rest for several days. If there is significant pain and immobility of a joint, however, it is best to have an x-ray to rule out a fracture. If a doctor suspects a torn ligament, he may also recommend a scan known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This type of image allows a doctor to see the structure of muscles, ligaments, and tendons, enabling him to find significant tears.

To reduce inflammation and pain, you can use over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Medications such as ibuprofen work well, but do not use them if you are also taking blood thinners or suffer from bleeding ulcers. These medications may also cause stomach upset or even intestinal bleeding, so use with caution.

A physician may recommend surgery for healing ligament injuries that have caused significant tears. When a torn ligament causes severe pain upon movement, surgery can repair and restore mobility. Additionally, there are post-operative methods that can promote healing of an injured ligament. One such method is rehabilitation and strengthening exercises targeted for treating ligament injuries.

For healing ligament injuries that are less than 48 hours old, you may also use ice to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. An ice pack should never be applied directly to the skin, so wrap the ice in a towel or secure cloth before placing on the injured area. Use the ice compress for 15 minutes, up to four times daily for the first 48 hours. After a few days, you may use a heating pad or soak in a warm Epsom salt bath for pain relief.

Massage therapy may be another way of healing ligament injuries. If you choose shiatsu or another type of massage, it's best to do so under a physician or physical therapist's recommendation. If you experience a ligament injury that does not improve or worsens after several weeks, a medical professional should be consulted.

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Discussion Comments
By indigomoth — On Nov 07, 2011

@Iluviaporos - Almost all the ligament injuries I've ever heard of have been when someone managed to hurt themselves during a sport or something like that.

I don't think you can warm up ligaments the same way you do muscles. So, you've just got to try and make sure you protect them with smooth movements and no sudden wrenches.

That's easier said than done, I know, but then I also know a few people who think of ligament injuries as just the price you pay for playing some kinds of sports, like rugby for example.

By lluviaporos — On Nov 07, 2011

@umbra21 - I had a friend who injured a ligament in his knee and he was still using the leg as though nothing happened for a while. I think he felt a bit of pain, but not much. He had only really torn the ligament a small bit, I think.

But, then he tried to play beach volleyball on the knee and that was it.

He managed to really hurt himself and ended up having to have surgery in order to repair it. So it really pays to try and obey the doctors if they tell you to keep off the knee as much as possible. They aren't just trying to be killjoys, or implying that you're weak. It's just common sense to let the thing heal when it is in danger of becoming worse.

By umbra21 — On Nov 06, 2011

Unfortunately, ligament injuries take a lot longer to heal than muscle injuries tend to, but they are generally quite an important part of the anatomy when it comes to movement. So, having a ligament injury can be really annoying.

I've heard though, that with some ligament injuries, for example to the knee, you can just take it easy on the injury and not have to do much else to try and fix it.

The muscles surrounding the ligament are strong enough to handle the joint without it, although it will still be painful. And of course, the more you use them, the slower it will take to heal, so you have to take it easy in order to not make the injury worse.

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