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Deltoid Ligament

What is your deltoid ligament?

This triangular shaped band binds your tibia to the inner bony protrusions on the side of your ankle. It helps to prevent your ankle from rotating to the outside and offers support to your ankle. Your tibia is the scientific name for your shinbone, which is the largest of the two bones that are located between your ankle and knee and is considered to be the strongest weight-bearing bone in your body. This ligament is also known as your medial ligament. Because of the strength of the deltoid ligament and the anatomical structure of your bones, injuries and sprains to this ligament are rare but they can happen and is very common in athletes who run long distances on soft or uneven surfaces.


Your deltoid ligament is made of both deep and superficial fibers and is one of the strongest ligaments in your body. It is the ligament that helps support the arch of your foot. The fibers connect your medial malleolus of your tibia bone to the four areas of your foot. Your medial malleolus is the spherical bony protrusion on the inner side of your leg just above your ankle joint. The deep fibers of the deltoid ligament extend from your medial malleolus to the surface of your talus medial surface. The superficial fibers attach at three of the four points, which are the anterior, posterior, and middle aspects of your talus. Your talus is the bone that is between your leg and foot and is Latin for ankle bone.

Injuries that can occur to your deltoid ligament

Although injuries and sprains are rare, you can suffer from ligament sprains. Only five to ten percent of all ankle sprains are sprains of your deltoid ligament.


When you have an injury to your deltoid ligament due to a tear or sprain you may feel pain on the inside of your ankle. You make also see rapid swelling in some cases. If you have torn the deltoid ligament, you may see some bruising. It may also become difficult to bear any weight on the joint and make walking difficult. How severe the symptoms are will depend on the extent of the deltoid ligament injury and the grade. With Grade one, you may see no or mild instability with some pain and stiffness in the joint and little swelling. With Grade two, you may have moderate instability, swelling, stiffness in the joints, and moderate to severe pain. With Grade three, there is severe pain and swelling.


The injuries to your deltoid ligament are put into different grades, which helps to know which type of treatment to use. Grade one is normally caused by the stretching of the deltoid ligament and has minor symptoms. Grade two usually involves a partial tear and more pain. Grade three is usually a complete tear of your deltoid ligament.


This type of injury can happen for two reasons. One is your fibula bone, which is the bone that helps to make sure that your ankle joint does not move too far, could become torn or strained due to a sudden movement, causing your foot to be twisted outward. It can also happen if there is a fracture of some bone that is located in your ankle joint or your fibula and tear the ligament. These types of injuries are often referred to as an eversion sprain or medial ankle sprain. You can also injure your deltoid ligament just from overuse or general wear and tear. Your deltoid ligament supports your arch so if a person has knocked knees or flat feet they may find themselves more susceptible to injuring the ligament.


If you see your physician for an injury they will order x-rays to see if you have a fracture in the area in addition to the deltoid ligament injury.


With general treatment the first part is to give your ankle sufficient rest so the deltoid ligament can heal on its own. To help with the swelling you can use an ice pack every two to three hours for fifteen minutes at a time or a compression bandage. You also need to make sure that you do not carry any heavy weights. To keep the swelling to a medium keep your leg elevated. To help regain full mobility you may need to undergo physical therapy, which can also help to strengthen your ankle joint. If the injury takes more than forty-eight hours to heal you should talk to your physician to make sure there is no internal injury to your deltoid ligament. Some may have to undergo deltoid ligament repair surgery, which will require prolonged immobilization as a postoperative treatment. Sometimes a person can wear specialized orthopedic shoes to help prevent painful strains on their deltoid ligament and help them to recover from a minor injury.


To help repair the tear in a deltoid ligament you should make sure that you are eating foods rich in protein. The amino acids that are converted from proteins are very important in new tissue assembly. You should make sure that you are eating two three servings of foods rich in protein each day such as beans, shellfish and regular fish, and skinless poultry. One of the main components that make up ligaments is collagen so you should also increase your intake of vitamin C to help stimulate collagen development. Pineapples and oranges are rich in vitamin C.

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