ligament, damaged

Ligaments are the connecting tissue around a joint which largely determine the direction and degree of movement. Damage can result from moving a joint in an abnormal direction or farther than usual in a fall or accident. The damage may be restricted to stretching or slight tearing, or a sprain. In the case of dislocation41 there is usually tearing of one or more ligaments, causing pain and swelling. In the case of damage to a capsule there can also be bleeding into the joint. Damaged ligaments are treated with cold compresses, to reduce swelling, and firm bandaging, plastering or splinting of the joint to give the ligament a chance to heal. In cases of severe tearing surgery may be needed to stitch the ligaments.