Tendon and ligament tears are injuries to the soft tissue connections of muscles and joints.
Tears or ruptures to these tissues can:
Tendon and ligament tears and ruptures can affect many joints in the body, but our knees often take the brunt of these injuries.
Two well-known knee tears or injuries are:
The main cause of torn tendons and ligaments is traumatic injury, such as:
Football and basketball players tend to be at a higher risk for ACL tears, but they can happen to anyone at any time.
Meniscus tears have two common causes — a traumatic injury to the knee or the process of degeneration. They often occur from twisting a bent knee joint.
If you tear or rupture a tendon or ligament, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. This will allow your doctor to assess the severity of the injury prior to swelling, which makes it harder to diagnose.
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Off all the possible tendon and ligament injuries that can occur, the two most common are tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus in the knee.
When you tear your ACL, the knee becomes unstable.
Other symptoms of an ACL tear include:
Some symptoms of a meniscus tear include:
You should see a doctor immediately after tearing or rupturing a tendon or ligament. Swelling can affect the diagnosis of your injury.
To diagnose a tendon or ligament injury or rupture, your doctor will collect your medical history and perform an exam.
He or she will ask you questions such as:
Your doctor may order an x-ray or MRI to help confirm a diagnosis.
Tendon and ligament tears or ruptures are painful injuries that require an experienced orthopaedic specialist to properly diagnose and treat them.
At UPMC Orthopaedic Care, we offer nonsurgical and surgical treatments for tendon and ligament tears and ruptures.
Choosing the best treatment option will depend on the extent of the tear or rupture, your desired activity level, and other factors.
If you don't intend on resuming your active lifestyle, your doctor may suggest the following nonsurgical treatments:
If you intend on returning to vigorous activities and sports, tendon tear or rupture surgery may be in your best interest.
The goals of tendon or ligament surgery are to:
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