WEAKENED LIGAMENTS

CHIROPRACTIC HELP FOR WEAKENED LIGAMENTS

What are ligaments? 

Ligaments are bands of strong connective tissue that hold your bones together at the joints. They provide the skeletal structure with support and stability. Your ligaments are extremely tough and allow your bones to move freely without moving too far apart or twisting too much. Chiropractic care and techniques can help treat this pain. 

What are weakened ligaments? 

Ligaments serve the purpose of connecting and stabilising the bones. When these ligaments due to any reason become loose or weak, they become unable to hold the bones in place. This might cause dislocation and misalignment of joints also known as subluxation. 

Weak ligaments might cause injury in joints all over your body, such as your neck, shoulders, ankles, or knees. Several studies have found links between weak ligaments and resulting injuries. 

One study found that weak ligaments were 6.8 times more prevalent in several men with frequent shoulder dislocation. 

In another study of 51 rugby players, it was found that players with high scores on the joint hypermobility assessment had significantly more injuries than those who had fewer hypermobile joints. Both groups of players exhibited similar strength, which established that strength fails to protect people who suffer from hypermobile joints due to weak ligaments. 

What are the symptoms? 

Signs and symptoms of weakened ligaments tend to occur in or around the affected joints. Possible symptoms include: 

  • Muscle spasms 
  • Pain 
  • Numbness or tingling 
  • Frequent injuries or joint dislocation 
  • Hypermobility 
  • Clicking sounds from the joint 

Causes of weakened ligaments 

In some cases, there is no clear cause of weakened ligaments. However, in most instances, it occurs due to an underlying medical condition or injury. 

Medical conditions that contribute to weakening of ligaments 

Several genetic conditions that affect your body’s connective tissue can cause the weakening of ligaments. These include: 

  • Hypermobility Syndrome 
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome 
  • Marfan Syndrome 
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta 
  • Down Syndrome 

Many non-genetic conditions can also cause it, such as: 

  • Bony dysplasia 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Injuries and accidents 

Injuries can cause ligaments to get weak, especially if there are accompanying muscle strains and repetitive motion injuries. However, people with weak ligaments also have a higher risk of injury, so it’s not always clear whether an injury has caused weak ligaments or vice versa. 

Risk factors for weak ligaments 

According to research, weak ligaments are more commonly seen among athletes, such as gymnasts or swimmers because they’re more prone to muscle strain injuries. Having a job that requires a lot of repetitive movement can also increase your risk of an injury that might cause loose ligaments. 

How is it diagnosed? 

The Beighton score is the most commonly used screening tool for joint hypermobility. It involves completing a series of movements that check the strength of your ligaments and related joint hypermobility. 

Sometimes, weak ligaments are a sign of a more serious underlying condition, such as Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. You might have to go through additional tests if you exhibit other symptoms of a connective tissue condition, such as muscle weakness or fatigue. 

What are the treatment options? 

People with weak ligaments don’t always require treatment, especially if the condition is pain-free. However, where pain is experienced, physical therapy can be done to strengthen the muscles surrounding one’s joints for added support.  

If the root cause is unmanageable with physical therapy or if the injury is severe, you might have to undergo surgery or invasive treatment to fix or replace the weakened ligament. 

Another treatment modality is prolotherapy. Some research has been conducted on the effect of prolotherapy on people suffering from joint hypermobility due to weak or injured ligaments. An irritant solution is injected into your ligaments. This irritant solution is usually a form of sugar called dextrose. It aids in kick-starting growth in the connective tissue, and this process often reduces pain. 

How Chiropractic Care Can Help 

Chiropractic works with the entire musculoskeletal system and focuses on the impact of the injury on the functioning and alignment of bones and joints. Chiropractic care aids the patient through therapeutic, non-invasive treatment for ligament weakness. Chiropractors jumpstart your body’s natural healing abilities and promote healthy functionality. This involves chiropractic adjustments that aid in resolving misalignments in bones and joints. 

When joints are out of place, they can disrupt healthy functioning and movement. A chiropractor helps identify and resolve these misalignments for healthy joint functions. Chiropractors, through various techniques, including therapeutic massage, can help treat your pain symptoms while addressing the root cause of the injury. You may also learn stretches and exercises that would help improve your mobility and strengthen your ligaments. 

Chiropractic care also involves strengthening the area around the injury, hence, stimulating the body’s healing processes. A ligament receives less blood flow as compared to other soft tissues. Due to the slower influx of nutrients and oxygen, ligaments might take weeks to heal, if injured. Repeated stress on the injured area due to overuse also extends the healing time. Corrective exercises, adjustments, and massage therapy can improve mobility, pain, muscle function, reduce inflammation, and strengthen ligaments. 

The bottom line 

Weak ligaments, regardless of the cause, can lead to loose joints that are more mobile than usual. While it might not always cause problems, ligamentous weakness can sometimes cause pain and can increase your risk of injuries, such as dislocated joints.  

If you think you may be suffering from ligament weakness, it is advisable to seek treatment as early as possible. Call Clinic 27, and allow one of our chiropractors to guide you on the path to greater strength and wellness.  

References: 

  1. InformedHealth.org: “What are ligaments?” 
  1. Blalock D, et al. (2015). Joint instability and osteoarthritis. DOI:10.4137/CMAMD.S22147 
  1. Clinch J, et al. (2011). Epidemiology of generalized joint laxity (hypermobility) in fourteen-year-old children from the UK: A population-based evaluation. DOI:10.1002/art.30435 
  1. Deep K. (2014). Collateral ligament laxity in knees: What is normal? DOI:10.1007/s11999-014-3865-6 
  1. Feceau M, et al. (2018). Prolotherapy or the injection treatment of ligamentous laxity.upmc.com/Services/integrative-medicine/services/Pages/prolotherapy-information.aspx 
  1. Laskowski EL. (2017). Joint hypermobility: What causes loose joints? mayoclinic.org/hypermobility/expert-answers/faq-20058285 
  1. Saccomanno MF, et al. (2013). Generalized joint laxity and multidirectional instability of the shoulder.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295707/ 
  1. Wolf JM, et al. (2011). Impact of joint laxity and hypermobility on the musculoskeletal system.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21807914 
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3206581 

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