Tendons and ligaments are more delicate than muscles. A small tear or an injury can take a lot more time to heal for a tendon or a ligament. Tendons connect muscles to the bones and the ligaments are the shock absorbers that are present in between the joint of two bones. The doctor checks for ligament or tendon tear by performing some conclusive tests. The rehabilitation should be started immediately if you want to recover fast. When there is a tendon or a ligament tear, a person should rest the affected joint and look to get physical therapy.
When a tendon or the ligament is injured, the cells of the body work extra fast to remove the fluids and they try to fill the gap with connective tissues and capillaries. As a method of recovery, the cells start laying down collagen at a much higher rate than normal. Collagen is a protein that builds the tissues. It takes nearly one year for the collagen to repair the ligaments and align them with the bone again. For tendons, the same healing process takes about three to four months. To become normal again, is a really long process.
The rehabilitation process in the first week of injury aims to decrease the pain and swelling. Swelling immobilizes a patient. The patient is prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs, and ice packs are applied to the injured area. When the pain and swelling is eliminated, electrical stimulation is provided. This synthesizes the protein and speeds up the healing process. Electrical stimulation is given through a machine. It makes the tendon stronger and also helps to relax the muscle spasm. If the tendon is under strain, the surrounding muscles and tendons are pulled. To increase the blood circulation to the affected part, hot packs and ultrasounds are used. It speeds up healing and also enhances better absorption of the nutrients.
Before the strengthening and the stretching exercises start as a part of the rehabilitation process, a range of other motion and muscular strength exercises are performed to assess the tendon. Passive and active stretches are used to strengthen the tendons. Eventually low tension isometric exercises with dumb bells and exercise bands are used. In isometric contraction exercise, the muscle contracts but remains in the same position without moving the tendon. Rehabilitation helps the tendon to regain its resistance and flexibility in a gradual way. Manual therapies like massages and joint exercises are also performed as a part of the physiotherapy.
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LiveStrong: The Rehabilitation Of Tendon and Ligament Injury