Difference between Sprain and Ligament Tear

May 9, 2017

We’ve all at some point experienced an ankle twist, accompanied by swollen ankles and various degrees of pain. While most of us would describe this as an ankle sprain, it could also be an ankle ligament tear. Both the conditions- sprain and ligament tear- are different and would require different treatments, hence it’s important to understand the difference between Sprain and Ligament Tear.

Ligaments are bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones at joints. While a sprain is a stretch in a ligament, a ligament tear is basically a ruptured ligament. So the key difference is this: sprain is a mere stretch in the ligament, while a tear indicates a ruptured ligament. The most common form of sprain is an ankle sprain, and the common types of ligament tears are knee and ankle ligament tear.

Degree of pain
While the former might cause you pain if you apply pressure on the area, a ligament tear is much more painful. Since a tear basically disconnects your bones and leaves your joint unbalanced, it could be extremely painful even if you’re not using the injured area.

Treatment and recovery period
A sprain should be treated by resting, applying ice packs over the area and covering it with an elastic bandage, and keeping it elevated. If all these guidelines are followed, a sprain could heal quickly and you will have full use of the affected area within 2-4 weeks.
However, a ligament tear might require surgery if the tear is severe or if the area hasn’t healed even after a significant period of time.For example, an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury requires ACL reconstruction surgery. The recovery time for a ligament tear ranges from 3 to 6 months before you can fully use the injured area.

If you’ve experienced a ligament tear or a sprain or any other injury related to your bones, muscles, tendons or ligaments, you should definitely consult a doctor. Experts from the Orthopaedics team at Apollo Spectra Hospitals will diagnose the problem and treat it effectively- relieving you from pain and preventing further complications. Apollo Spectra prides on its world-class infrastructure, latest technologies and international protocols coupled with a team of 700+ dedicated medical experts.

So, don’t let the pain take over your life- get your ligament injury tended to at Apollo Spectra Hospitals right away!