What Do Ligaments Do?

What Do Ligaments Do?

You have more than 900 ligaments in your body. A ligament injury can prevent you from accomplishing daily activities and inhibit your ability to play sports or participate in hobbies. 

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons with Georgia Hand Shoulder & Elbow inAtlanta, Georgia, are the right specialists to see if you have a musculoskeletal injury or condition. If you play sports or engage in an activity like dancing that requires pivoting and running or moving rapidly, you’re at risk of a ligament injury. You can also injure a ligament in an accident. 

For example, it’s easy to sprain ligaments in your shoulder, wristthumb, or fingers if you fall on an outstretched hand. A thumb sprain prevents you from grasping everyday objects. If the tear is complete, you could lose function until you’re treated.

What is the function of a ligament? 

Your ligaments have several related functions. They do all of the following: 

Symptoms of a ligament injury 

These are some of the common symptoms of a ligament injury:

We listen to all of your symptoms and ask you to perform physical movements to help determine if your ligament is injured. We rule out broken bones with an X-ray and may order an MRI.

Ligament sprains are divided into three classes. A Grade 1 sprain means you’ve overstretched the ligament. A Grade 2 sprain means you have a partial tear in the ligament. A Grade 3 sprain means the ligament is torn completely through or is ruptured. 

The earlier you come in for treatment for a ligament injury, the quicker you’ll heal. Don’t wait; the injury is likely to worsen as you try to use the joint. 

Treatment for ligament injuries

Until you’re able to come into our office or be seen via a telehealth visit, the first thing you should do is rest the hand, wrist, or other body part. Use ice off and on and take over-the-counter NSAID pain medication. Compress the area with an elastic bandage and elevate it above the heart.

Once you’re in the office, if you’re in severe pain, we provide a steroid injection. It can help confirm a Triangular Fibro-Cartilage Complex (TFCC) injury on the outside of your hand, which is composed of several ligaments. Once we’ve diagnosed that or another ligament injury, we immobilize it with a splint or brace. 

Once the inflammation subsides, you’ll have physical therapy to help you regain flexibility and range of motion in the injured area. If conservative treatments don’t work, arthroscopic or open surgery can repair the damage. 

Call Georgia Hand Shoulder & Elbow or book an appointment online today if you have undiagnosed musculoskeletal pain. We’re your partners in your musculoskeletal health.

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