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Ligament And Tendon Injuries

Tendon and ligament tears or ruptures are injuries to the soft tissues that connect muscles and joints. Common symptoms of tendon and ligament tears are pain and swelling. You may also hear or feel a pop when you tear the tissue. Treatments can include a brace, medicine, or surgical repair.

A sprain is an injury to the ligaments which are soft tissue structures that stabilize a joint. Ligaments are strong, flexible fibers that hold bones together. When a ligament is stretched too far or tears, the joint will become painful and swell. Sprains are caused when a joint is forced to move into an unnatural position. For example, “twisting” one’s ankle causes a sprain to the ligaments around the ankle.


Ligament Tears

Tears or ruptures to the tendons and ligaments can:

Types of ligament or tendon tears and ruptures

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:

Tendon tear causes and risk factors

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.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Tendon/Ligament Tear and Rupture Symptoms and Diagnosis

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.

Tendon and ligament tear or rupture symptoms

When you tear your ACL, the knee becomes unstable.

Other symptoms of an ACL tear include:

Some symptoms of a meniscus tear include:

Diagosing tendon or ligament tears and ruptures

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.

Nonsurgical treatment for tendon and ligament tears or ruptures

If you don't intend on resuming your active lifestyle, your doctor may suggest the following nonsurgical treatments:

Ligament and tendon tear or rupture repair surgery

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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