Healing a torn ligament


A ligament (Latin: ligament) is a structure that connects bones together. Ligaments often connect bones to joints and primarily serve to stabilize the joint. They also limit its range of motion in its physiological function. The ligaments, which consist of connective tissue, can only be stretched to a very limited extent and can be stretched or even torn in the event of injury or excessive stress, which is then referred to as a ligament tear (rupture). With an approximate share of 20% of all sports injuries, the ligament rupture is very important and makes it a common clinical picture.

root cause

A common cause of a torn ligament is an unphysiological movement beyond normal, for example when falling or twisting the foot. Excessive stress on the joint and the ligamentous apparatus that secures it can result in damage to the joint and even rupture of the ligament. Often there is a torn ligament on the foot, especially on the upper ankle or knee. There are also typical underlying accident mechanisms for certain ligament ruptures. For example, what happens frequently Buckling of the foot, also Supination trauma called, typically to one Outer ligament tear at the foot. A torn ligament can not only come about through unnatural movement patterns, but also through external force acting on a joint, such as a foul in soccer.


Typical signs of a torn ligament are very severe pain right after the trauma. These are particularly strong with movement or pressure on the affected area, but they are usually present without any movement or stress on the structure. Shortly after the crack, usually already within a few minutes, it comes to one severe swelling of the joint. In the next few hours, a will also appear frequently bruise due to torn from injury Blood vessels, thereby reducing the swollen area additionally discolored bluish appears. Since the ligaments can no longer fulfill their stabilizing function due to the tear, a passive movement of the joint occurs abnormal mobility, i.e. movement patterns that would not be possible in a joint with an intact ligament, such as the so-called A hinge can be opened. When actively moving the affected joint, the in contrast to a broken bone is still possible, it feels unstable and insecure.

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Athletes (joggers, soccer players, etc.) are particularly often affected by diseases of the foot. In some cases, the cause of the foot discomfort cannot be identified at first.
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A torn ligament is diagnosed by the doctor, who first asks about the symptoms and the causal mechanism of the accident through an anamnesis, as this is often very specific to the injury to a certain ligament. This is followed by an examination of the injured area, whereby the doctor focuses on one bruise, Swelling or Tenderness respects the affected structures. It is also tested whether the joint extraordinary and to an unphysiological extent can be moved. Then an X-ray is used to check whether there are any injuries to the neighboring bones. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is often performed for complicated injuries or for surgical planning. This procedure enables a good assessment of soft tissue structures like ligaments or cartilage tissue. It is important to know if cartilage tissue or bones were injured as this often results in a different therapy.


In the past, an operation was quickly advised for torn ligaments, but today this is only done in exceptional cases, such as in Cruciate ligament tear, at Professional athleteswho have to quickly and heavily strain their ligaments again and are the first choice for multiple ligament injuries. Today one tries to treat the torn ligament conservatively and to promote natural healing, which one is with Immobilization of injured ligaments want to achieve. Serve for this rails (Orthoses) or corresponding tapes, i.e. tapes stuck to the skin, which are supposed to take over the stabilizing function of the torn tape, thus relieving it and also maintaining the mobility of the joint as much as possible. The acute pain are treated with pain medication.

The healing of a torn ligament through the growing together of the injured structures often takes a long time. The actual healing process, which consists of cell division and regeneration mechanisms, cannot be accelerated. However, one can contribute a lot to the healing process, on the one hand, by providing quick and effective first aid to the torn ligament and, on the other hand, by not standing in the way of the healing process and thereby prolonging it. A basic principle for the initial treatment of a torn ligament is the so-called PECH rule. The individual letters stand for the measure to be carried out: P = break, E = ice, C = compression, H = elevated position. The most important thing here is to protect the affected joint and avoid stress (P: break).

Cooling the joint also helps a lot to reduce the pain and to bring the swelling under control as far as possible (E = ice). The cooling should be done with ice cubes, but because of possible frostbite no direct skin contact but should be wrapped in a towel, for example. Can also be applied carefully stabilizing bandage be useful until you see a doctor, as it compresses the blood vessels in the injured area and thus counteracts enormous swelling by limiting the space available for the bleeding to spread (C = compression). In order to accelerate the regression of swelling and bruises, it is advisable to elevate the affected joint (H = elevation). Also accelerates a quick presentation to the doctor the healing, because after the diagnosis has been made, optimal therapeutic approaches can take place, such as wearing a stabilizing splint.

Here, too, you can support the healing process of the ligaments by using the prescribed one Rail consistently day and night and thus relieves the ligament structures so that they can grow together without additional stress and thus heal. Depending on the type of ligament tear and the recommendation of the attending physician, additional physiotherapy can also accelerate the healing of the ligament tear by strengthening the muscular system so that the missing ligament stabilization of the joint is reduced and thus a muscular joint retention is achieved. By consistently performing the prescribed exercises you can also contribute a lot to the healing process of the torn ligament yourself.


At earlier and more consistent Therapy usually heals a torn ligament without consequences and has a good prognosis. Consequential damage usually only remains if there is a torn ligament not recognized and was therefore not treated adequately. For example, osteoarthritis, i.e. irreversible damage to the Articular cartilage come, which can severely reduce the quality of life. Permanent, i.e. chronic, instability of the affected joint can also persist.

Prophylaxis of a torn ligament

A ligament rupture can be prevented by training the muscles well so that they relieve the ligaments and, in the event of a possible trauma, the ligaments are less likely to be seriously injured. Coordination exercises also help to train balance and thus prevent possible trauma from falling. If a patient has already had a torn ligament, special bandages, which can be worn during sports, provide additional joint stabilization and thus relieve the ligaments.