Ligaments are the tough yet flexible fibrous tissues that connect a bone to another bone, especially in a joint. They are located throughout your body and are part of the intricate network of tissues that keep your bones and joints in place. Your shoulders, hands, hips, knees, feet, and ankles all have ligaments which, with too much pressure, can become overstretched and tear.
A ligament tear can severely impede the stability of a joint – and if the ligament is fully torn, it will likely require surgery to repair. For torn ligaments in the hands, you may only need to wear a splint in order for the ligament to heal properly; for a torn ligament in the shoulder, ligament reconstruction surgery may be recommended to repair the joint capsule. The repair that will be performed by your surgeon depends on the location and the severity of the injury.
Let’s talk about what is involved in repairing a partially or fully torn ligament, and who you can talk to if you have joint problems in your shoulders, arms, or hands.
Repairing a Torn Ligament in the Shoulder
Ligament reconstruction surgery is perhaps the most commonly used surgical procedure to repair a ruptured (fully torn) ligament. In the case of a ruptured shoulder ligament, you could develop a dislocated shoulder if the injury isn’t addressed by a skilled orthopedist.
There are a number of ligaments in the shoulder, most notably the shoulder capsule. This capsule attaches the humeral head (the ball at the top of the humerus, or the upper arm bone) to the shoulder blade in the glenoid socket. The capsule can develop tears which may need surgery in order to fully heal the shoulder and restore movement of your arm.
What Is Arthroscopy?
Ligament reconstruction surgery can be performed arthroscopically, which involves the use of miniature tools and therefore also very small incisions. Arthroscopy is a highly advanced procedure that requires less cutting of tissues (as compared to traditional open surgery) and therefore also:
- Less bleeding
- Less scarring
- A lower infection risk
- Less postoperative pain
- A quicker recovery
The surgeon will use special tightening tools to fasten the torn ligaments back together so that the damaged sections heal back together properly. Ligaments do not have much blood supply, so healing can take a while.
Recovery from Ligament Reconstruction Surgery
Following ligament reconstruction surgery of the arm or shoulder, you may need to wear a sling for several weeks in order to prevent the arm from moving around and thereby facilitating healing. Physical therapy is a critical component of rehabilitation, and it usually encompasses stretching and strengthening exercises.
Ultimately, what you want to avoid is infection, stiffness, and reinjury following surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon will provide you with clear instructions after surgery and a general timeline for recovery.
Hand and Shoulder Ligament Reconstruction in Delray Beach
If you have chronic or intermittent pain in your hands, shoulders, elbows, or wrists, treatment is quickly available right here in Delray Beach. Dr. Steve Meadows is a board-certified hand surgeon with more than 25 years of experience diagnosing and treating injuries and conditions that affect the upper extremities, including arthritis and sports injuries.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Meadows, contact our friendly staff today by calling South Palm Orthopedics at (561) 496-6622 or complete our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you get back to your active lifestyle again.