How to Treat a Torn Ligament Caused by Sports & Exercise
In addition to being painful, torn ligaments are also notoriously difficult to treat. Even though these injuries usually heal on their own, competitive athletes often need to be back on their feet and training as quickly as possible. Here is a look at a few steps that you can take to speed up your recovery and prevent future ligament injuries.
Get an Accurate Diagnosis
The first thing that you will need to do is schedule an appointment with an orthopedic center at a hospital, such as Valley View. Many of the top hospitals throughout the country build these specialty centers in order to diagnose and treat common sports injuries. Before starting any treatments, you want to be absolutely sure that your injury isn’t a broken bone or any other serious medical issue. An orthopedic team will also be able to give you an accurate recovery timeline.
Rest for a Few Weeks
Even if you are diagnosed with a minor tear, you will still need a few weeks to recover. The best thing that you can do during that time is rest. Your orthopedic team will most likely immobilize the ligament and give you some suggestions for pain management. You must also stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep, and stick to a nutritious diet during your recovery. After about six weeks, the damaged fibers inside the ligament should be completely replaced with new collagen.
Compression, Ice, and Elevation
Inflammation is going to slow down your recovery, and that is why excess fluid can’t be allowed to pool near a torn ligament or sprain. Many medical experts believe that the R.I.C.E. method is the best way to treat soft tissue damage. This method includes resting the damaged tissue, compressing the area with a garment, icing a few times a day, and elevating the affected body part.
After the initial swelling has gone down and the area is no longer as sensitive, you will then need to stimulate the tissue. Non-surgical treatments such as massage therapy trigger the production of collagen and flood the area with healthy cells. You can also use some type of heat source to stimulate the injury once your skin is no longer inflamed. When choosing a massage therapist, you should only hire a certified specialist who has experience with athletes. An inexperienced massage therapist could actually make the injury worse.
When it comes to torn ligaments, you should always err on the side of caution. Postponing your training for a few extra days could help you avoid permanent damage to your ligaments, muscles, and joints.