Torn Ligament

What is a torn ligament?

A torn ligament is an injury to a tough, ropey fiber that connects a bone to another bone. Sudden force, a direct blow to a joint, a deep cut, or a smashing injury can cause ligaments to tear.


Symptoms of a torn ligament may include:

  • A pop or snap felt or heard at the time of the tear.
  • Pain and swelling.
  • A wobbly, unstable joint.
  • Limited movement (mainly because of pain).

Ankle With Ligament Tear

Ankle with a ligament tear

An ankle sprain occurs when ligaments that connect the bones in the foot, ankle, and lower leg are stretched or torn. The ligaments shown in the picture are those that are most commonly sprained.


Treatment for a torn ligament varies depending on the location and severity of the tear, the presence of other injuries, and the person's age and overall health. A partial tear may heal with the use of a splint for several weeks, while a complete tear may require surgery.

Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.


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