Common Ligament Injuries
Ligaments are fibrous tissues which connects our bones to other bones. They also help to support the joints and allow a normal range of motion for the joints. Ligaments have high tensile strength due to the high density of collagen present. Ligaments also provide proprioceptive inputs to the brain and allow the body to perform complex activities required in sports. Injuries to the ligament are common in high impact and high speed sports and a structural damage to the ligaments are known as ligament sprains. There are some ligament injuries that are much more common than others and let’s take a look at them.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are common is high impact sports like football, soccer, rugby and basketball. The ACL is one of the 4 main ligaments in the knee which joins the femur to the tibia. Nearly 50% of patients who experience ACL injuries suffer it in combination with injuries to other parts of the knee such as the meniscus and medial collateral ligament. ACL injuries occur most commonly from sudden twisting motion when the foot is still firmly planted on the ground while the knee is trying to change direction, causing the ACL to rupture. An ACL reconstruction will be the most viable option after injury as ligaments cannot heal by themselves.
Medial Collateral Ligament
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is another main ligament of the knee which provides stability to the knee. The MCL is located from the end of the femur to the top of the tibia and it prevents the knee from opening up. Due to its preventive features, it is commonly injured when there is an impact on the outside of the knee joint which causes the knee to buckle and the knee to open up. MCL injuries are also mostly in conjunction with ACL and meniscus injuries. If it is a standalone MCL injury, surgery is often not required and patients can get on with their lives pretty well with the help of a knee brace to provide stability.
Glenohumeral Joint ligament
The Glenohumeral joint ligaments are located in the shoulders at the Glenohumeral joint which provides stability to the shoulder. The Glenohumeral joint connects the upper arm bone to the humerus and the shoulder blade. Injuries to the Glenohumeral joint occurs due to a fall and the patient landing on an outstretched arm, sudden twisting of the arm to beyond the normal motion range and a sudden impact on the shoulder, causing the ligaments to tear.
Above are 3 of the common ligament injuries that are experienced by many. Although ligaments are strong fibrous tissues, they can rupture if a sudden impact or twisting motion is applied on it. Ligaments are important in ensuring stability of the specific part of the body so extreme care should be taken to protect it.