How to heal a torn ligaments in the shoulder. There are many ligaments that help to support the shoulder. Ligaments are the duct tape that hold the shoulder bones together. These include the coraco-acromial ligaments (the duct tape that holds the collar bone to the front of the shoulder blade). Other ligaments include the joint capsule of the AC joint (duct tape that holds the AC joint together) and the shoulder joint capsule (the duct tape that holds the shoulder ball in the socket). An injury that injures these ligaments can cause instability, meaning that the ligaments can be stretched an lose their ability to hold the shoulder bones together as you use the shoulder. This can cause many issues, including early arthritis and pain. Treatment options have traditionally been surgical. However, newer non-surgical torn shoulder ligament cures are now available.
Surgery for this area usually means sewing the torn ligament together or back to it’s attachment to the bone. While for a complete tear of one of these ligaments this may the only way to get the two ends back together, for partial tears, this is an older method of repair that may have more problems than benefits. For example, sewing a partially torn ligament often over tightens the ligament. Newer treatments are injection based. This means that adult stem cells can be injected into the ligament to help it mend, rather than needing surgery. The newer stem cell based treatments (links above) also mean much less down-time and immobilization for the patient. No more blue pillow immobilizer!
As an example, a patient with an AC joint injury often has chronic and painful popping and cracking in this joint. The shoulder muscles underneath can become sore. The surgical option is to sew a cadaver ligament or synthetic material around the injured ligaments to try and stabilize the joint. However, there is huge down-time, with the patient being unable to use the area for months. In addition, over tightening is common, and this leads to more arthritis. The newer technique of injecting stem cells into the ligament requires no or little down-time and likely results in a more physiologic repair (without the over tightening) because the goal with this procedure is to get the ligament to heal back to it’s pre-injured state (or as close to it as possible).