Ligaments link bones to other bones and provide support to joints. They allow a normal range of movement to occur within a joint, but prevent unwanted movement that would render the joint unstable.In orderto fulfill this function ligaments must possess immense mechanical tensile strength. Ligaments are classified as dense connective tissue, and they consist of a protein substance called collagen.The organisation of collagen fibers gives the ligament its tensile strength.
Another function of ligaments is to provide input to the brain that allows a person to know what position the joints are in, without having to look. This helps to perform the complex coordinated activities needed for sport.
A normal ligament consists of:
- 90% Type I collagen
- 9% Type 3 collagen
- 1% fibroblast cells (the cells that produce/li>
Type 1 collagen is mature collagen tissue and has the greatest tensile strength. Type 3 collagen is immature collagen tissue and does not provide a great deal of tensile strength to the ligament. After being laid down by fibroblast cells it takes approximately three months for Type 3 collagen to mature into Type 1 collagen. As with other cells in the body, this process of renewal occurs continually.
The Small, Sensitive, Yet Mighty Ligament
Many of our muscles are mammoth structures, like the quadriceps. Ligaments, are generally less than one inch in length, and whose width is measured in millimeters. Yet these small structures must be mighty because they have the job of binding the bones together.
Ligaments have essentially no blood vessels of their own to bring them nutrients. Their nutrition must come from diffusion of nutrients, most likely from the joint itself. This should make it evident to you why ligaments are so easily injured. The small blood vessels to the joint are sheared. The little blood supply that the ligaments had is then cut off. The immune system reacting to the damaged caused to the joint wants to repair the damage, but can not do so if no immune cells can get to the area because of the poor or interrupted blood supply.
The blood supply to the ligaments is the worst at the point where the ligament attaches to the bone,called the fibro-osseous junction.This is the most common area injured and is responsible for most lingering injuries.
When ligament tissue is examined under the microscope it can be clearly observed that the collagen fibers are arranged in longitudinal pattern to resist the stress that is placed upon the ligament.The arrangement of the collagen fibers means that a great deal of force is required to damage ligaments. In a collision sport like football this force is generated by opposition players or when a player catches his foot in the turf and his whole body weight goes over one joint. This force produces structural damage to the joint capsule and ligaments, which is known as a ligament sprain.
GRADE 1 SPRAIN : There is damage to a few collagn fibres,producing a local inflammatory response. This is characterized by pain over the affected ligament.
GRADE 2 SPRAIN : There is damage to a more extensive number of collegen fiber.This Produces a more marked inflammatory response GRADE 1 This is characterised by pain over the affected ligament.
GRADE 3 SPRAIN :The damage to be collagen fibers is such that there is a complete rupture of the ligament. This produces intense pain, joint effusion and marked joint instability. Surgery may be necessary to restore joint stability.
Ligament Repair or Treatment
We think many patients and people suffering from chronic pain do not heal their initial injuries because of improper treatment. This improper treatment generally takes the form of one or all of the following recommendations: Rest, Ice, Immobilization,Bracing. If anyone is suffering from soft injuries follow these methods which will definetly help to heal the injuries. If organic food supplements are conjoined with these therapies the results could be very encouraging. Organic food supplements ensure natural healing of ligaments
RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression) Treatment
The R.I.C.E. treatment is the gold standard for pain management and any ligament injuries today. You go to any emergency room or sports trainer with an acute ankle sprain or other ligament injury; you will be given these instructions: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Most people would also receive instructions.This treatment is recommended because ligament sprains are sometimes accompanied by quite a bit of swelling. RICE treatment is very effective at eliminating edema in muscle injury. The main difference between muscles and ligaments is that muscles are massively strong structures with a tremendous blood supply, both outside and inside the muscle. Ligaments, on the other hand, are small tissues that have a poor blood supply both inside and outside of the ligament. Muscles, because of their good circulation, heal quickly and rarely cause a long-term problem, whereas ligaments, due to their poor blood supply, often heal incompletely and are the cause of most chronic injuries and pain.