Many people are not aware of the difference between ligaments and tendons, and it can cause some confusion if you get a joint injury. A ligament is fibrous tissue connecting bone to bone. A tendon is fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone or muscle to a structure like an eyeball.
When you stretch the ligament but don’t tear it, this is called a sprain. When the tendon or connected muscle becomes stretched, it is called a strain. It is important to understand the difference because they may be treated differently.
Here are some steps you can take to treat a strain at home:
- Rest the painful area and avoid intense activity.
- Apply ice or cold packs, 10 minutes at a time at least twice an hour.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling.
- Do gentle range of motion exercises occasionally throughout the day to avoid stiffness.
If you take all of these measures and you are still in a large amount of pain, you may need to have your joint evaluated to see if other damage was done. Tendons can take a long time to heal. Your doctor may want to recommend a brace during healing. If the tendon injury shows no improvement after a couple of weeks, other medical interventions may be necessary.
There are a few things you can do to speed up healing and recovery. Physical therapy can be a great addition to your treatment, building up the muscle and strength you need to regain. Stem cell and PRP therapies can also be beneficial for speeding up the natural healing process.
If you have a tendon injury that doesn’t seem to be healing on its own, we can help. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.