Seeking Medical Attention For Ligament Tear
The feet and ankles are intricate structures that undergo significant stress and strain daily. Both play a vital role in supporting the weight of our entire body and enabling movement. Over time, the chance of injury increases significantly. A common injury in this area is a ligament sprain or tear. If a tear or sprain is suspected, promptly seeking medical attention is crucial. Some people may need ligament repair to restore function and eliminate pain.
When surgery is necessary
Ligament repair is a surgical procedure that involves repairing or reconstructing a torn or damaged ligament. Ligaments are tough, fibrous tissues that connect bones, providing joint stability and support. When a ligament is torn or damaged, pain, swelling, and instability occurs. The surgical technique will depend on the extent of the ligament injury and the patient's specific needs. However, not all ligament injuries require surgery. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), as well as physical therapy (PT), can help with less severe injuries. However, surgery may be necessary if conservative treatments are ineffective or if the ligament injury is severe.
How a podiatrist can help
The specific medical professional that can help with this kind of injury is a podiatrist, a provider focused on diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the feet and ankles. Some podiatrists are also surgically trained and can repair ligaments accordingly. When should a podiatrist be seen for a ligament repair? Here are some signs that an injury requires medical attention.
Don’t ignore these signs
Pain and swelling are common symptoms of a tear that indicate surgery may be necessary. The pain may be intense, making putting weight on the affected foot difficult. Walking or even standing can be painful. This type of pain can indicate that the ligament is completely torn, which requires immediate medical attention. Other common signs include a limited range of motion (ROM) and instability.
How does a podiatrist help?
If a tear is suspected, the podiatrist will perform a series of physical tests while asking probing questions about the injury. The next step is a series of scans to confirm the location and extent of the damage. From there, the podiatrist can decide the best course of action. Some ligament tears can heal with therapy and techniques like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) over time. In other cases, a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon must repair the ligament with surgery. The patient may need several months of PT before returning to regular activity.
Don’t ignore a torn ligament
Seeing a podiatrist for a ligament repair is crucial if a tear occurs. A podiatrist can diagnose the extent of the injury and provide appropriate treatment to help the patient recover and get back to normal activities. Remember that early intervention is critical for treating ligament injuries, so don't delay seeking medical attention.