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Treatment of tendons and ligaments

Differences between tendons and ligaments

Ligament is a band of durable connective tissue designed to connect bones and strengthen joints. Tendon is a fibrous band with a whitish-silver color, made up of dense connective tissue, which is an extension of the muscle to the point of its attachment.

Causes of a partially torn tendon:

  • excessive tension of ligaments, tendons or muscles,
  • falls,
  • sprains of the joints.

Differences between tendons and ligaments

Ligament is a band of durable connective tissue designed to connect bones and strengthen joints. Ligaments can also connect bones outside the joints, which is why they have the ability to stabilize the skeletal system. They are characterized by flexibility, but they cannot stretch too much. Joint ligaments include the capsular, intracapsular and extracapsular ligaments.

Tendon is a fibrous band with a whitish-silver color, made up of dense connective tissue, which is an extension of the muscle to the point of its attachment. The tendon consists of bunches of fibers between which fibrocytes are packed in the nodes of Ranvier. The tendon is responsible for transferring the strength of muscular contraction to the bone elements of the skeleton. Its characteristic feature is durability, despite its low elasticity. There are many types of tendons, including wide, flattened, flat and cylindrical. The shape of the tendon usually adjusts to the structure of the specific muscle, and its length and thickness are related to the movement in the joint and the contractility of the muscle. The tendon is constantly exposed to damage which is manifested by severe pain. Tendon injuries require performing an ultrasound to find the degree of damage to the tendon.

Stretching, partially tearing and rupture of the tendon

The mildest injuries of the tendon include stretching, which results from the microdamage of the fibers. The injury causes the fibers to move too much against each other, which leads to loss of their consistency. Stretching the tendon is often accompanied by inflammation. Another tendon injury is a partial tear, or an incomplete tear of a tendon fiber fragment that connects the muscles with the bones. The most often torn tendons are the Achilles tendon, tendons of the wrist, fingers and hand. Patients who have torn a tendon should exercise extreme caution on a daily basis. Injury to the tendon may occur as a result of movement beyond the physiological range of the joint. Untreated trauma leads to joint instability, which results in faster wear of the joint. Partial tear of a tendon is not an indication for surgery, but it is worth remembering that this injury significantly increases the patient’s tendency to further, much more serious injuries, such as a tendon rupture. It is a complete disruption of the tendon fibers that are responsible for connecting the muscle to the bone. Rupture of the tendon manifests as pain, swelling and immobility at the site of rupture. In some cases, the tendon rupture is accompanied by an audible crack. This injury can coexist with damage around the joints, articular cartilage or ligaments.

Tendonitis

Tendon pain may also be the result of inflammation. The cause of acute tendinitis may be excessive strain resulting from intense exercise. Inflammation usually occurs when the effort is repeated regularly and inappropriately, e.g. wearing inappropriate shoes. Symptoms of tendinitis include increased tendon pain during work and limited tendon mobility. Long-term pharmacological treatment often does not bring the desired results – inflammation returns after the medication is stopped. That is why it is worthwhile to opt for Orthokine® therapy, which is effective, minimally invasive and does not put a strain on the body. Untreated tendinitis transforms into a chronic form that leads to the gradual destruction of the tendon.

Causes of a partially torn tendon

Tendons are characterized by susceptibility to injuries, and contusions happen not only to athletes. Among the most common causes is too much strain leading to tearing of parts of the tendon fibers that connect the muscles with the bones. Such injuries occur during the prolonged repetition of the same movement. Partially torn tendon tear is a trauma often experienced by people who suddenly start practicing sports they are not prepared for. Never forget the warm-up, it will protect you from injuries.

Symptoms of a partially torn tendon

Symptoms of partially torn tendon resemble symptoms of a partial tearing of the muscle – pain, swelling and inflammation. However, swelling in a partial tear of the tendon is slighter and slower than in muscle injury. Pulling a tendon may also be manifested by bruising and hematomas resulting from intra-vascular bleeding.

Treatment and rehabilitation of a partially torn tendon

In most cases, a partially torn tendon does not involve surgery. However, it is necessary to perform an ultrasound, which will eliminate the suspicion of a ruptured tendon. Here is what should you do with the injury:

  1. Protect the tendon against movements that could contribute to the deepening of the injury, immobilizing the limb. If you cannot immobilize the joint, make sure you reduce the load, for example, by leaning on a cane.
  2. Apply the ice pack, but not directly to the skin. Applying cold compress with Altacet or vinegar is also a good idea.
  3. Apply anti-inflammatory ointments or anti-inflammatory and analgesics.

In some cases, an orthopedist prescribes a conservative treatment consisting of wearing an orthosis for 6 weeks. Fresh injuries can be treated with the Angel System® therapy, which will speed up regeneration and prevent scarring of the tissue and reduction of elasticity and strength of the tendon itself. Old strain injuries, where inflammation has already occurred, can be treated with Orthokine® therapy designed to suppress or stop the inflammation leading to spontaneous regeneration of the tissue. In turn, a ruptured tendon is most often treated by reconstructive surgery, after which the patient has to undergo a 6-week rehabilitation.

Causes and symptoms of ligament sprains

Ligaments, like tendons, can become stretched, partially torn and ruptured.

The causes of ligament injury include:

  • excessive tension of ligaments, tendons or muscles,
  • falling down,
  • joint sprains.

Symptoms of these injuries include:

  • pain,
  • swelling,
  • enlargement of the joint contour,
  • bruising in the area of a joint,
  • increased temperature of the injured area,
  • immobilization of the joint,
  • limitation of the range of movements.

Stretching and partially tearing of the ligaments occur when a hematoma appears outside or inside the joint due to trauma. Injury of the ligament leads to inflammation. Ligament injuries happen very often. In the case of an injury accompanied by a minor swelling, when the patient can move their fingers and stand on the injured leg, it is enough to apply cold compresses and immobilize the limb with orthosis or elastic band for about 2 weeks. However, if the patient experiences instability of the joint and difficulty in moving their fingers or toes, it is necessary to conduct an ultrasound, apply a stronger immobilization, and sometimes even perform surgery. It is worth remembering that an early operation will prevent the need for reconstruction.

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