Do tendon injuries or ligament injuries heal faster?

In theory tendon injuries should heal quicker than ligament injuries, due to a better blood supply, says physiotherapist Juliet Slade, but that is not always the case...

do tendons or ligaments heal quicker

Both tendons and ligaments provide a large amount of support and structure to the body. Tendons connect muscle to bone and ligaments connect bone to bone.  These connections are very strong and resist high tensile forces but when injured there are a variety of factors that affect healing times.

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Technically tendons should be the quicker tissues to heal if we focus on the blood supply network. Blood provides the oxygen and nutrients needed for healing and is found in high quantities in muscle. It is therefore passed on in very small amounts to its tendon attachments. Whereas ligaments in comparison receive an even smaller bloody supply.

Due to their general low bloody supply both tendons and ligaments are typically slow healers when compared with muscle and bone.

Healing rates will also depend on which area of the body the ligament or tendon is injured. A non load bearing tissue will generally heal faster as it can be rested more easily and avoid re injury.

Degeneration and older age will slow the healing of both but tendon injuries will typically be more prevalent in elderly people.

The extent and type of injury is very important to take into consideration. A small tissue tear will heal quicker than a large tissue tear. Similarly a small ligament tear can heal quicker than a continually overused angry tendon. A tendon that doesn’t undergo rehab will heal much more slowly if at all than a rehabbed ligament.

In summary, there are many components to take into consideration when establishing the time an injured ligament or tendon will take to heal. Your physiotherapist will guide you with timings in your rehab process.

    If you have any health concerns at all or are worried about injuries always consult a doctor, pharmacist or chartered physiotherapist

Juliet Slade is a physiotherapist at Six Physio

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