A torn ligament injury is referred to as a sprain. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test usually is done on a patient who experience pain from a ligament injury. A torn ligament can be extremely painful and take time to heal. The MRI can show exactly how bad the sprain is and help your doctor find the best treatment option. There are several ways to treat a torn ligament.
Immediately after you tear a ligament, you can begin using the PRICE method. In this treatment, you protect, rest, ice, compress and elevate the injured area. Protect the injury by using a splint or crutches to keep yourself off of the injury and to keep the injury stabilized. Rest your injury to help promote healing. Ice the ligament to reduce swelling. Use an elastic bandage or wrap to provide compression to help prevent swelling. Keeping your injury elevated also will help to prevent swelling.
When to See Your Physician
For some torn ligaments, you should see your physician. If you experience a fever, for example, you may have an infection and need antibiotics. You also should see your physician if you cannot use your joint at all. This may mean that you require surgery to repair the ligament completely. You also may need to see your physician if your injury does not improve in a few days.
For pain, you can take an anti-inflammatory, over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen, which is available over the counter, also work for pain. Check label directions for proper dosages for whatever painkiller you use. If your pain is severe, you may need a stronger pain medication. Your physician may prescribe a narcotic such as Darvocet for pain. Be sure to take the medication as directed.
Physical therapy can help you learn to use your ligaments and joints again. A therapist will provide you with exercises that help to strengthen the muscles surrounding your injury. This can help you regain full range of motion at the joint. Physical therapy also can help to reduce swelling and prevent pain.