Torn ligament symptoms

Written by jason medina
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Ligaments are powerful bands of connective tissue that connect bones and help stabilise joints. A torn ligament can seriously impede normal bone and joint function and cause a variety of symptoms. What follows is a brief list of the most common symptoms of a torn ligament.

Popping Sound/Sensation

A torn ligament often times produces a popping sound or sensation at the moment of rupture. This is caused as the individual ligament fibres pull apart and snap, which generally produces considerable pain in addition to any popping sounds or sensations.


Pain is a common symptom of a torn ligament. When a ligament tears, whether partially or completely, a significant amount of soft tissue irritation and swelling normally results, both within the actual torn ligament fibres as well as in the surrounding muscle tissue. This typically causes moderate to severe pain levels. Severe ligament tears typically produce extreme pain and severe bone or joint dysfunction.

Restricted Joint Movement

Ligaments help support and stabilise the joints of the body and help maintain normal joint biomechanics. A torn ligament reduces normal joint function by altering normal muscle action and strength across a joint, which leads to joint instability and weakness. A severe ligament tear can result in a frozen, or immobile, joint that causes significant disability.


Bruising is a common symptom of a torn ligament, especially a severely torn or ruptured ligament. When a ligament tears, the body responds by increasing blood circulation and fluid flow to the injured area. This typically causes considerable swelling in the area around the ligament tear. This swelling often times puts sufficient pressure on the blood vessels overlying the ligament tear, which typically leads to bruising of the skin.


Numbness can occur as the result of a torn ligament if the torn fibres impinge on neighbouring nerve roots. This often happens with severe ligament tears, whereby large portions of torn ligament fibres irritate or push against nerve fibres in close proximity to the tear. This type of situation happens often in the hip and knee joints, where large ligaments lie in close proximity to large nerve bundles.

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