A torn ligament is a tear in the bands of fibrous tissue that connect joints and bones. These ligaments help with movement, but when they’re stretched or twisted too hard they can tear. Not only does that make movement more difficult, but it can also make movement painful, as it’s often associated with a foot sprain.
If you’ve received a diagnosis of a torn ligament in your foot, or you have a strong suspicion that you’ve torn a ligament, you’re probably wondering how long it might take to heal and what kind of treatment it’ll need.
Here’s what you need to know about treatment for torn foot ligament issues:
Diagnosing the Severity of a Torn Foot Ligament
If you’re asking how torn ligaments heal, you’re not alone— and it’s a fair question. You’re always moving ligaments as you go about your daily life, and if they’re moving all the time it can be harder for them to heal up properly.
Long story short: torn ligament treatment can vary depending on how severe the injury is.
A minor tear may heal up on its own with proper rest. It may take a few weeks, but it probably doesn’t need treatment.
Large tears, though, often need a lot more attention. They’ll likely require a cast or a splint, so you’re not moving the ligaments around while the tears in them heal up. These can take eight weeks to heal up fully, and it’s a good idea not to rush that process. Being in a hurry could re-injure the ligament, and that might mean even longer to heal up.
Both minor and more serious sprains could have you on crutches for a while, as part of your treatment for a torn foot ligament. Thankfully, the crutches will not only keep you from trying to walk on that foot, but can also be a good way to reduce the pain.
If you tear the ligaments in your foot very badly— to the point that they’re completely torn through or they aren’t attached to the bones of the feet any longer— a splint or cast probably isn’t going to be enough to repair that. These more serious sprains usually require surgery, which is often considered to be the only treatment suitable for proper repair and healing.
The Healing Process for a Torn Ligament
Ligaments heal at the cellular level, in three main phases. The first is the acute inflammatory phase, followed by the regenerative or proliferative phase, followed by the tissue remodeling phase.
Sometimes, the healing is slower than would be hoped for, and it can sometimes be incomplete. In other words, you won’t necessarily get your ligament back to 100% without medical intervention.
Your joint may feel lax due to the ligament injury, and that improves slowly over a period of weeks and months. Still, even after a year of healing from the injury, there are people who have laxity and instability in their joints because of the lack of treatment while it was healing.
Even if your doctor doesn’t think you need a lot of intervention, there are at-home options that can also help.
At Home Torn Ligament Treatment
You want to help your ligament heal as well as possible. That can mean staying off of your foot for a while, depending on the severity of the injury. But when you’re cleared to move around, exercise is a good choice. It not only helps you retain flexibility, but it can also help your ligaments get stronger.
That way, you can reduce the chances of an injury in the future. The treatment for torn foot ligament issues can actually involve using the ligament, as long as it’s done the right way.
Some of the best exercises to do at home include light cardio options such as:
- Using an elliptical
- Controlled kickboxing
- Battle ropes
- Rowing machine
- Low-impact jumping jacks
Also consider proper stretching, which can include:
- Leg lock bridges
- Bended knee lifts
- Glute bridges
- Push-up walkouts
- Log rolls
- T-spine rotations
- Cat and cow stretches
- Butterfly stretches
Physical therapy and a proper diet can also play roles in how well your foot ligament heals, so be sure to talk to your doctor about all the ways you can heal safely and get back to all the things you enjoy in life.
Don’t Stay In Pain
Foot ligament tears and sprains can be extremely painful, and without proper counsel, can progress into long-term foot problems.
You don’t have to stay in pain any longer.
Come see us, and let us help! Give us a call at 239.936.5400 today to schedule your appointment.
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