What Is the Treatment for a Torn Ligament?


Quick Answer

Initial treatment of a torn ligament includes rest, ice, compression and elevation, according to eHealthwall. This combination is known as RICE therapy, and it is a critical part of the recovery process during the first few days following injury.

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Full Answer

The area in which a torn ligament occurs requires rest for several days before significant movement is resumed, but it should not be allowed to become completely immobile, according to eHealthwall. Braces or crutches can help keep the area stationary. Icing the area at intervals helps to reduce swelling; frozen bags, ice wrapped in a towel and ice packs are ideal to use. Putting a bandage around the injured area compresses and supports it. Elevating the area above heart level is the last part of the RICE equation. Extreme cases may require long-term physiotherapy or surgery.

It is essential to avoid heat, alcohol, running and massage, also known as HARM, for at least 72 hours following injury as these can cause further damage, states eHealthwall. Massaging the area or drinking alcohol during this time can cause swelling to get worse and may cause bleeding. A doctor may prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines to ease the pain and swelling of a torn ligament; however, ibuprofen may suffice in mild to moderate cases.

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