Ligament Tear (Such As Lateral Ligament Tear)

A ligament tear, also known as a sprain, is an injury to the fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones in a joint. Ligaments are responsible for providing stability to the joint and preventing excessive movement in certain directions. A tear in a ligament can range from mild to severe and can occur in any joint, including the ankle, knee, shoulder, and wrist.

A lateral ligament tear specifically refers to a sprain of the ligaments on the outer side of the joint. This type of sprain is most common in the ankle and can occur when the foot is twisted or turned inward, causing the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle to stretch or tear.

Causes of Ligament Tear (Such As Lateral Ligament Tear)

Ligament tears can be caused by a sudden force or impact to the joint, or by a sudden change in direction or movement that puts excessive strain on the ligament. Some common causes of ligament tears include:

Sports injuries: Ligament tears are a common injury in sports that involve sudden stops, changes in direction, or high-impact activities, such as basketball, soccer, or football.

Accidents: Falls, car accidents, and other types of accidents can cause ligament tears, particularly in the knee, ankle, and wrist.

Overuse: Overuse of a joint, such as in repetitive motion or activities that involve the same joint over and over again, can cause ligament tears over time.

Weak ligaments: Some people may be more prone to ligament tears due to naturally weak or lax ligaments.

Age: As people age, their ligaments can become weaker and more susceptible to injury.

It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect a ligament tear, as prompt treatment can help prevent further damage and promote healing.

Signs and Symptoms of Ligament Tear (Such As Lateral Ligament Tear)

The signs and symptoms of a ligament tear may vary depending on the severity of the injury. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain: Pain is often the first symptom of a ligament tear, and it may be sudden and severe.
  • Swelling: Swelling around the affected joint is common and may be accompanied by warmth and redness.
  • Bruising: Bruising around the joint may also occur.
  • Difficulty moving: The joint may feel stiff or difficult to move, and there may be a limited range of motion.
  • Instability: A ligament tear can cause the affected joint to feel unstable or loose, and there may be a sensation of the joint giving way.
  • Popping or snapping sound: In some cases, a ligament tear may be accompanied by a popping or snapping sound at the time of the injury.

It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms, as they may indicate a ligament tear or other serious injury to the joint. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further damage and improve outcomes.

Treatment for Ligament Tear (Such As Lateral Ligament Tear)

Physiotherapy treatment for a ligament tear depends on the severity of the injury, the location of the tear, and the individual’s overall health and medical history. Treatment may include:

Rest and immobilization: Resting the affected joint and immobilizing it with a brace or cast can help promote healing and prevent further injury.

Ice and heat therapy: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce swelling and inflammation, while heat therapy can help improve blood flow and promote healing.

Physical therapy exercises: Once the acute phase of the injury has passed, physical therapy exercises can help improve range of motion, strength, and flexibility in the affected joint.

Massage therapy: Massage therapy can help reduce pain, stiffness, and muscle tension around the affected joint.

Electrical stimulation: Electrical stimulation therapy may be used to promote healing and reduce pain and inflammation.

Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the ligament tear.

It is important to work with a qualified physiotherapist who can develop a customized treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals. Following the physiotherapy plan, along with proper rest and self-care, can help promote healing and prevent further injury.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about ligament tear please call us at 03 9836 1126.



Effects of neuromuscular training on anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention and lower extremity injury prevention programs: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine

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