Ligament sprains of the knee and Chiropractic treatment

Chiropractic Treatment and Ligament sprains of the knee

Ligament sprains are caused by putting excessive stress through the area causing the ligament to overstretch and tear.

The ligament become inflamed and the joint sometimes become unstable. This can occur from direct trauma or overuse.

The most commonly affected ligaments of the knee are the medial collateral ligament (on the inside of the knee) and the anterior cruciate ligament (inside the knee).

A ligament injury will usually involve a certain amount of swelling directly over it and sometimes bruising depending on the severity of the injury.

Classification of ligament injuries

Ligament injuries are classified into three groups according to the severity of the injury:

  • 1st degree sprain (mild): Some tearing or overstretch of the fibres (less than 10%), no joint instability, mild pain, minimal swelling, no bruising, there are trigger-points present in the thigh musculature.
  • 2nd degree sprain (moderate): Separation and tearing of fibres (between 11-50%) causing moderate instability and moderate to severe pain, swelling and stiffness.
  • 3rd degree sprain (severe): 51-100% tear of the ligament, gross instability, severe pain, swelling. Usually requires lengthy immobilisation and/or surgery. If total rupture, stress test may not be painful, a total rupture needs surgery.

The most common cause of ligament sprains is excessive force directed towards the knee. Which structure is injured depends on the amount of force, the direction of the force and position of the knee.

For example, the most common type is a force directed to the outside of the knee, which:

  • if mild, causes medial collateral ligament sprain,
  • if more severe: causes the above and meniscal tear and possibly, anterior cruciate ligament sprain,
  • and if very sever: all of the above and posterior cruciate ligament sprain.

Treatment of ligament sprains

Chiopractic treatment of 1st and 2nd degree sprains involve:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression/Elevation
  • Ultrasound, interferential, laser treatment
  • Soft tissue work: cross friction, deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy
  • Gradual introduction of exercises to strengthen the muscles and improve proprioception and nerve and muscle function.

Chiropractors treat 1st and 2nd degree sprains but 3rd degree sprains will require surgery first to repair it.

After which, chiropractic treatment is an ideal way if helping you after surgery to rehabilitate the injury to regain the optimal function and fitness.

The aim of the chiropractic treatment is to minimise scar tissue formation and build up the strength and reflexes that protect the joint.

An injured ligament rarely becomes as strong as before the injury but effective rehabilitation and treatment will minimise the risk of long term problems.

How long will it take to get better?

Although, grade 1 sprains are often weight bearing within 1 week, grade 2 sprains commonly take 3-6 weeks before you can return to normal activities, research show that it can take up to 6 months before the healing is complete.

In reality, ligament sprains can take a long time to heal and there is no set time for recovery. Research show that it can take up to 6 months before the healing is complete.

The rate of recovery depends very much on your ability to heal, the severity of the injury, how long it has been present and your compliance to treatment.

If the underlying cause of the problem is not corrected you can start to develop osteoarthritis or” wear and tear” most often as a result of instability.

The sooner you deal with a problem the quicker you respond, so why don't you give us a call today. Or alternatively, contact us here.

If you want to find out more about Chiropractic treatment you can click here.

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