Ligaments - how long to heal?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Pacifist_Jihadist, Dec 9, 2008.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I know its a case of "how long is a bit of string" but im looking for a rough idea of time or advice.

    1) Twisted the middle finger on my hand when it got trapped in between the mats in MMA. Twisted both knuckles perpendicular to the natrual way they move, hurt like hell and the entire finger swelled up big time. This was about 3 months ago and the middle knuckle is still slightly swollen and is quite painful and stiff from time to time.

    2) Went over on my left ankle while running a month ago, walked it off for 10min and kept running fine (though hurt like a barsteward for a little while later in the day) and is still ok to run on. However if i keep my feet facing straight ahead and twist my pelvis 90deg to the left the outside of the foot under the knuckle joint thing hurts and is slightly swollen.

    I know its best to go see the doc and all that, but just checking first incase it is as i think only a minor thing.
  2. STOP!!!!!!

    You need to go and see the Doc about your ankle. Over the last 18 months, I've battered both of mine. The first time (6th Aug last year) it swelled up like a balloon (laboon) and I went and had it x-rayed "Nothing there Mrs Slug - you'll be fine". Turns out that later, after it kept being swollen and a massive lump appeared on the top, and after an MRI scan, that it had actually been broken and wasn't picked up on the first x-ray. Second ankle went underneath me (yeah - all my weight on it) the 4th May (day after Army Navy) this year and I went through it all again, but have not been brave enough to go back to the docs about it. Once you have twatted your ankle once, it weakens it and it will just keep happening.

    I'd stay off the high heels for a bit too if I was you.
  3. squeekingsapper

    squeekingsapper LE Reviewer

    I hate to break it to you, but ligaments will take longer to heal than fractured bones. strap it up, try and rest it whilst keeping it raised and you can see the doc, but I doubt they can do much, other than put you on light duties. try to remember RICE which stands for rest, ice compression and elevation
  4. mate I have glass ankles tore my ligaments a year ago,did it again in September and still in physio I would rather have just broke it!
  5. In my case at least 6 months for the torn ligaments in my knee and ankle after a nasty fall. I cut out the running and just went swimming, the exercise does it good but you obviously can't stress it.

    Best to see a doc for correct diagnosis then a sports physio for the best exercises to aid recovery.
  6. I would get it checked out, it may be that you've fractured your left lateral maleolus which is an odontoid (tooth-like) peg at the bottom of the fibula. It has ligaments attached to it and they can often become detached by inversion injury and may, or may not take either a flake of bone or the whole peg with them.
    Not sure about your fingers, you might have done a bit of damage to the capsule that surrounds the joint or, indeed, the ligaments. Again, always well worth a trip to the MO.
    If the MO is unsure ask for referral to a physiotherapist, preferably with an interest in sports injuries. Failing that find out if your unit APTI is also a remedial gymnast, he should be able to give you some good strengthening exercises. If you're a civvi then the physio is your only answer, I wouldn't rely on 'personal trainers' at your gym, even if they are qualified sports scientists, unless they too have done a medical module to their sports science degree.
  7. Wow, ok will bribe a friend into looking at the ankle for me since he is a phsyio. Cuts out the waiting time with the doc and local hospital. I knew ligaments took a while to heal (hence not worried about minor swelling on the ankle) but didnt think it would be this long. Thanks for the advice all.

    edit for fat fingers
  8. Being a clumsy cunt, I have sufferred many injuries in my time, including totally torn ligaments in my ankle. Who says your problem is your ligaments?

    Get the fuck down to see the quack, there's no way of knowing what you might have damaged, and, more to the point, what might come back and bite you in the arrse at some later stage.

    Don't be a fuckling martyr. Go to the Doctors. :pissedoff:
  9. Abort!!!!!

    Ignore all the "strap it up and leave it" chat. The doc can do much, especially get you to a physio. As a doc in this field it's bloody annoying to see injuries that should have had early rehab get stale and harder to manage because the punter's had advice from Pl Sgt / a mate / St Johns etc etc.

    The ankle joint has nerve fibres running in it which give feedback on your position, allowing you to make small adjustments to keep stable (like watching a heli in the hover). When you sprain it, you're effectively tearing ligament fibres, and so often normally taking a few sensory fibres out too. You lose your ability to feedback as well as before, so you become less stable. You lose confidence in the joint and turn over on it again. Eventually, this becomes a chronic problem resulting in an ankle which is impossible to run on = P7 = bad news.

    At 10 days you're likely to still have soem residual pain, but that does imply a reasonable force from the original injury. Get your doc to assess it, and they may well want you to try some physio. Physio helps restore joint position sense and therefore balance. Ankle better quicker. Voila.

    PS the finger injury also needs looking at, collateral lgts in fingers often need hand therapy or splinting.

    Here endeth the lecture.
  10. I would say for ligaments, 6-12 months if the required time for it to be fully healed, slightly less if you apply ice immediately to it. The longer the swelling is there, the longer it will be damaged for.

    There's about a 10-15 days period where it transfers over from cold to hot (from acute to chronic).

    I rolled my ankle a couple of years ago when competing and had to carry on for about 10 minutes on it (excluding rest time when I was sitting). It hurt at the time but shrugged it off because of adrenaline.
    4 hours later I was hobbling and it took me 1 months to walk without a limp. Me being mr tough bollocks sparred on it and someone kicked that leg out, that set me back another 2 months.

    Now it's got the instability there, but by building the stabilsing muscles, it's A LOT stronger then it was.

    See a doctor about it, but also start doing hot and cold treatment on the finger and knuckles (are they swollen and tender or are they inflamed/puffy with what seems to be water). Basically as hot and you can stand for 3 minutes, high pressure beads of water like from a shower is preferable, then cold for 3 minutes, then hot for 1 minute, cold for 1 minute, repeat 1 minute phases once more and end on a warm cycle.

    You can look into Cissus ( or Glucosamine ( to help bring along the process. Some people react better to one thing then the other.
  11. See doctor, physio, sports injury consultant, anybody you can beg, bribe, threaten, cajole or pester until you are absolutely sure they have got to the root of the problem and have a programme to fix you up. I learned the hard not to neglect anything below the femur. Don't ignore ankles. 'Man up' is fine when necessity dictates but otherwise, get advice and treatment and don't take risks: you'll regret it.