Ligaments are the soft tissues connecting one bone to another. Because ligaments do not show up on x-ray films, the ligament condition may be difficult to evaluate. Often, a diagnosis is based on symptoms and a description of how the injury occurred.
Symptoms of ligament problems depend on the severity of the trauma or injury. Ligaments are made up of several fibers and one or all of the fibers may be involved. The involvement of each fiber can vary as well. A fiber may be just partially bruised or inflamed or the fiber may be completely torn. When all of the fibers are torn, the injury is described as a complete ligament tear.
Ligaments, unlike other structures and organs of the body, do not have blood vessels that bring nutrients directly to the tissues. The synovial fluid surrounding joints is responsible for providing the nourishment for ligaments to grow and heal. For this reason, when ligaments are damaged, they require an extended period of time to heal.
A mild ligament injury may cause a minimal amount of pain and swelling and may make the use of your hand uncomfortable, but still possible. When hand ligaments tear, there is a tremendous amount of pain and swelling and the hand and wrist joints are only minimally functional.
For more information about ligamentous injuries of the hand, please call (918) 494-AOOK (2665).