The Ligament Link

When we injure ourselves there is more than just bone or muscle to consider

Have you ever rolled your ankle? How long did it take to heal? Why so long? 

If it isn’t bone or muscle, what else could it be? LIGAMENTS! 

These structures still baffle the scientific community as they are all physically different. 

The ligament functions to stabilise a joint and hold the bones together. Just like a stitch does when you are sewing material together. Without the ligaments, the bones would be unstable and fall apart.

A sprain or strain could stretch the ligament just like pulling a stitch from a seam of your favourite pants. A ligament might also be fully or partially torn. When an injury occurs to a ligament three stages of healing are activated. 

      1. Instantly inflammation will start. This fills the area with extra healing cells and helps clean up the damage. The inflammation also plays another role of stabilising the joint while the ligament cant.
      2. 2 days later a proliferation phase will begin where scar tissue will form. This is a temporary scaffold, more like a quick fix to the situation.
      3. 2 weeks following, a remodelling stage begins where the scar tissue starts to be replaced with normal cells.

These stages all overlap but the remodelling phase can last from months to years. 

So, if we are going through all these processes to heal, what is the problem with ligaments? 

Not all ligaments have the blood supply to fully remodel.  

Ligaments, unlike muscle, do not have as much blood circulation and each one has a different supply. Therefore they will take longer to heal. They also are not as elastic as muscle and once stretched will likely cause instability in the joint, which the muscles will have to hold firmer. 

So, what can we do?

There are three main approaches to helping your ligaments heal. 

      1. Biophysical stimulation can increase the healing time of ligaments. These include physical therapy, cryotherapy, magnetic fields, ultrasound and laser therapy. These techniques have been proven cost-effective and efficient for a wide range of ligaments in the body.
      2. Surgery is another option for ligament tears when invasive measures are required.
      3. Another exciting option is the use of injections. Varying degrees of success have also been found by injecting growth factors, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cells into the injury site. These procedures are still gathering evidence to support their use and are at a high cost to the patient.

In the end, due to their structure, ligaments will take longer to heal than muscle and bone. However, there are options out there that can decrease your healing time, some as simple as physical therapy.

Need more? Visit your therapist at Health Place

At Health Place we have talented therapists who will always assess your pain or injury first before treatment and give you a treatment plan and exercises for you to do at home tailored to your needs.

For any more information or questions, feel free  call us  at (07) 3852 2434 or email us at info@healthplace.com.au

If you need to book in a treatment, feel free to  Book Online

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