More commonly branded as knee ligaments, collateral ligaments connect your thigh bone to your lower leg bones and their sprains and strains are common sports-related injuries. It is common to football players, hockey players, sprinters, and skiers; however, no sports and no age-group are completely exempted from it. Injuries to collateral ligaments are often caused by fierce twisting or stretching of the leg during sporting or practice sessions. Ligament injuries can occur if you suffer a hard hit with objects such as hockey sticks and cricket balls.
What Are The Symptoms Of Collateral Ligament Injuries?
All knee injuries result from a violent twisting or trauma that can cause enough damage to the neighboring soft tissues too. You may expect some degree of internal bleeding and as a result swelling of the surrounding area occurs. In extreme cases, we have observed bleeding right into the knee joint. Within a few minutes after the injury, you will experience lack of functionality and stiffness. You will feel severe pain if you try to move your feet around. In most cases, you would not be able to stand up on the affected leg without assistance due to instability of the affected area.
How Collateral Ligament Injuries Are Diagnosed?
As a standard procedure, a thorough physical examination and medical history study would be conducted by our physios to pin down the injury. Accurate explanation about the incidents that lead to your ill-condition would be most helpful for us. Identification of the source of pain and some extent of muscle spasms would be enough for a trained physio to intuitively recognize collateral ligament injuries.
Once you are at our clinic, you will be assisted with icing, knee splint, and appropriate resting to your knee so that the pain and swelling settle down. Sometimes a reexamination is conducted within a week to reassure the presence of collateral ligament injury itself. Since you have less pain and inflammation at this time, the results would be more accurate.
How Is The Physiotherapy Treatment Plan For Collateral Ligament Injuries?
As you might be anticipating, our initial focus would be on to decrease your pain and swelling in the affected area so that you can be relieved from that stress and healing process kick in. As usual, some level of icing, resting, keeping your leg elevated, and anti-inflammatory medications would help you get rid of the pain and swelling. Since you would need assistance with walking because of your very unstable knee joint, you would be suggested to use crutches and appropriate training about how to use them would be given.
Once your pain is relieved and we are sure that appropriate healing process is taking place, we will start you on some exercises that will help you regain normal range of motion of your knee. At most times, what happens is that the regrowth of the tendons would not be sufficient enough to give you the stability and strength back to the knee. Our exercises regimens are customized in such a way that the regrowth of the ligaments would cater the original functionality of the knee joint. You would be suggested practicing minimal stretching exercises, some level of biking, and may be some massage by a trained therapist. You will also be exposed to strength training as appropriate as your physio thinks. For minimal tears, you would need to continue physiotherapy for a minimum of six weeks before you can return to your regular sporting life. If you had a serious injury, it would be in your best interest to continue physiotherapy for up to 3 months or as your physio see fit.
How Is Physiotherapy After Surgery For Ligament Injuries?
You would need surgery and post-surgical rehabilitation if your condition does not improve even after 3 months of conservative physiotherapy. We obviously take extra caution with your physiotherapy after surgery and the different modalities we apply during your post-surgical recovery would be customized based on the type of surgery you have gone through. Sometimes, you will have casting to your leg and sometimes you would need to wear a hinged knee brace after surgery. It is highly essential that you follow closely with the recommendations of your physio for successful return to active sports. For example, he or she may advise you not to lift weight for a given period and you must abide by it under all circumstances.
Once again, our priority would be to bring down the pain and swelling soon after the surgery. You will be trained on how to move around using crutches as well. Your strengthening and stretching exercises would be personalized to your condition and needs by our physios. In most cases, you would be able to return to your previously active lifestyles; however, under some unfortunate circumstances you would need to make modifications to your lifestyle.
Call us at (08) 9272 7359 and our expert physios here at Happy Physio can help you feel better 🙂