A ligament connects bone to bone, with the primary function of a ligament being the passive stabilisation of a joint. The most common form of ligament injury is through a sprain, typically occurring in the ankle. An ankle sprain tends to involve the inward movement of the foot causing a ligament known as the anterior talofibular ligament to be injured. This ligament injury can be graded in 3 ways.
Grading of Injury
There are three grades of injury with the ligaments, this will range from mild to severe.
- Grade I: The ligament only has minor damage with a few fibres torn. There is structural damage only on microscopic level, with slight local tenderness and no joint instability present.
- Grade II: The ligament will have a partial tear of the ligament, there will be far more fibres ruptured, swelling will be visible and noticeable tenderness, but with a mild instability in the joint.
- Grade III: This refers to the complete rupture of the ligament, there will be a significant instability in the joint, with significant swelling visible around the joint.
The extent of the ligament injury can be determined by assessing the ligament itself. By placing the ligament under stress we are able to observe the level of stability in the joint, whilst the level of swelling will also be noted.
How to Help Yourself
After the initial injury, it is best practice to immediately take action on the injury. A protocol that is easy to implement and simple to follow is the RICE protocol. However, this is no longer the best route for you. Instead, following the PEACE & LOVE method, can have far better outcomes with your soft tissue injuries. Check out our infographic below to learn more.
How We Can Help You
Upon your initial protection of your injury through the RICE protocol, we can look to diagnose the grading of your injury. This will then inform us of the exercises that you will need to complete to get you back to full fitness. This sort of injury will require professional guidance to prescribe exercises and treatments safely. Our aims will be to balance the muscle strength in your injured limb compared to the uninjured side, reduce your pain, increase your function through the use of specific exercises to help you in your recovery. For the lesser extent of ligament tears, these can take anywhere from 3 -12 weeks for you to recover whilst a grade III injury can typically take up to a year to make a full recovery.