Ligamentous instability or ligamentous laxity can cause chronic pain and affect any joint in the body. Referred to as “loose ligaments,” the condition allows a person to extend their joints beyond the normal range of motion (joint hypermobility). While the condition may affect any joint, the back, shoulders, wrists, knees, and elbows are common areas affected by ligamentous instability.
How Does Ligament Laxity Occur?
Ligament laxity occurs when the ligaments surrounding your joints become too flexible, allowing the joint to move beyond its normal flexible position. For many individuals, ligament laxity is genetic and may begin at a young age. It may involve one or more joints or affect the entire body (general joint hypermobility).
Ligamentous instability may also occur after a ligament is damaged and does not heal properly. The ligament becomes lax or loose and fails to provide enough support for the joint. In severe cases, ligament laxity can result in joint damage when the joint moves beyond its normal position. If the ligament laxity is in the spinal region, a person could suffer from osteoarthritis or disc degeneration. Sprained ankles and shoulder dislocations are other common injuries associated with ligament laxity.
Car Accidents Can Weaken Ligaments
Soft tissue damage in a car accident can result in ligamentous instability. A common example is whiplash. The force of the impact moves the head and torso in opposite directions damaging the ligaments in the neck and spine. The ligaments in the neck and spine work together with the muscles and tendons to keep our head, neck, and back in proper alignment. They also work together to provide the necessary support we need to control movement and body position.
If the ligaments are damaged because of the collision, they can become loose or lax. Instead of providing the correct amount of tension to allow for control and movement, the ligaments operate like an overstretched rubber band. The lack of support and increased instability can lead to other injuries and chronic pain. In severe cases, a ligament may be torn and result in the joint being nonfunctional.
Symptoms and Treatments for Ligamentous Laxity
The most common symptom of loose ligaments is the ability to overextend your joint. However, depending on the location of the damaged ligament, a person may not know he or she can overextend a joint. Other symptoms of ligament laxity include:
- Persistent or chronic pain
- Tingling or numbness
- Clumsy gait
- Pain with certain movements
- Grinding, snaps, or clicking sounds from joints
- Joints that swell frequently
- Pain or discomfort when rotating torso
- Muscle spasms near joints
- Frequent sprains and strains
- Back pain after prolonged sitting
- Sudden and sharp back pain and muscle spasms
A doctor can diagnose ligamentous laxity by evaluating your symptoms and range of motion. Other diagnostic tests may also be performed.
Treatment for ligament laxity depends on the severity of the loose joints. In many cases, a doctor may prescribe RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) to treat pain and inflammation caused by loose ligaments. Pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed. Physical therapy may be used to strengthen and tone muscles to provide added support and stability. Braces may also be used for added support.
Surgery is often the last resort used to repair damaged and loose ligaments. In some cases, a person may not be a surgical candidate depending on the type and severity of the injury.
Damages and Losses Associated with Ligamentous Instability
Because ligament laxity can cause chronic pain, the condition can interfere with a person’s ability to work and perform daily tasks. In addition to ongoing medical expenses for treatment, a person may also incur a substantial loss of income because of the injury. The person may also need to hire someone to perform household chores if they are unable to do so because of the pain.
Because loose ligaments can also lead to other injuries, a person may also sustain other injuries and permanent impairments because of the original injury to the ligaments. Depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders may also develop because of chronic pain and emotional distress.
If the injury to the ligaments was sustained because of an accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses and damages. After consulting your physician, you should seek the advice of an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney. An attorney can evaluate your case to determine if you have an injury claim against one or more parties.
Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you were injured in a car accident, fall, or other personal injury accident, do not wait to contact our office. You may be entitled to receive compensation that can help you pay medical bills and living expenses after someone has caused you to be injured.
Call Pinder Plotkin now at 410-525-5337 for a free consultation with one of our Maryland personal injury attorneys.