How to repair torn ligament in ankle used to be a challenge to most orthopedics. Ankle sprain injuries may require multiple surgeries in order to maintain repair but advancement in treatment for torn ligament has improved, and it facilitates faster healing and rehabilitation process for recovery.
- The common mechanism of injury to the ankle is inversion injury where the foot twists inward. This can pull the ligaments that connect the bone of the lower leg securely to the ankle joint. Ligaments are elastic structures that allow movement along the ankle joint but when it is stretched beyond its elastic limit, sprain may occur and to a greater extent, may cause the ligament to rupture.
- Ankle injury is graded according to the extent of injury. A mere sprain on the ankle is grade 1 where there is only slight stretching and minor damage to the ligament fiber. Grade 2 sprain occurs when there is a partial tear on the ligament with some degree of laxity to the ankle joint. Grade 3 sprain involves torn ligament where gross instability is present along the ankle joint.
- Surgical management is indicated to repair the torn ligament in 5 to 10 percent of ankle sprain cases. Significant instability to the ankle occurs which requires repair in order to stabilize the ankle and aid in the healing process of the torn ligament. Surgical reconstruction is often indicated with the use of grafting that involves suturing a ligament that is taken from a part of the patient’s body or that of a cadaver to connect the tear. With minor torn ligament, a simple suturing to repair the tear site will suffice. Conservative treatment for torn ligament consists of ice application to reduce swelling, rest, and immobilization.
- To aid in the repair of the torn ligament, the ankle is placed in a protective cast. This will reinforce the immobilization of the ankle joint in order to hasten the healing process of the torn ligament. The patient is provided with a crutch to aid in ambulation during the non-weight bearing phase of rehabilitation. The cast may be removed during the physical therapy treatment once the patient can tolerate weight bearing activities and begin with proprioception and balance exercise of the ankle.
- The emergence of stem cell technology offers a good alternative treatment to repair torn ligament. Stem cell called tenocytes is injected on the injured area, and it can rebuild tissues of injured tendons and ligaments. This is a non-invasive treatment for torn ligament but still on its infancy for development. It gives a more promising conservative treatment for repairing torn ligaments in the ankle without resorting to surgical option.