What is Inflammation of Ligaments or Enthesopathy?
The soft tissue which is fibrous in nature and connects two bones is known as ligaments. Several ligaments join together to connect two adjacent bones. On several occasions the ligaments can get injured of torn due to an accident or some illness which is related to the bones. Also ligaments can swell up and cause terrible pain and difficult in walking around or moving the part of the body where the ligaments are swollen up. There can be several reasons that might result in the inflammation of various structures attached to the bones of our bodies. The swelling up of the tendons or ligaments of the bones due to a certain injury or an illness is known as inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy.1 The inflammation can occur in any part of our body. Even though the whole body can get affected by it, the largest concentration falls on the legs and the lower back portion where the inflammation is more often and more painful. Inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy affects both men and women.
Usually people who suffer from arthritis and spondylitis are prey to the inflammation of ligaments. The disease can get in you at any age. Many young people are seen to be suffering from inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy. The illness is not difficult much to be realized but people often seem to ignore it which only adverse their situation. Ligaments are tender fibres and can easily get damaged or injured. If a single ligament is affected, the bone movement shall get affected as the ligaments are the glue holding the bones and making move together. Also injuries to the ligaments are a common matter which often happen to people but if the ligaments are swollen up and the soreness is in the bones, the patient must immediately consult a doctor and not neglect it any further.
Causes of Inflammation of Ligaments or Enthesopathy
There are several illnesses which might lead to inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy. Some of them are:
- Reactive arthritis can cause inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy. The swelling up of the ligaments and the joints in the bones due to an infection which has occurred in some organ of the body is reactive arthritis.2 Usually the infection if found in the stomach or the intestine. The infection then goes on to affect the bones of the knees and legs in the form of the inflammation of the ligaments and even sometimes the infection spreads its adverse effect on to the eyes and the urethra.
- Rheumatoid arthritis also causes inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy. This is caused due to the deficiency of nutrients which makes the immunity develop less. The immune system of your body gets weaker slowly and then there are painful swells noticed in the joints of the bones especially on the regions of the legs like knees and ankles.
- Another cause of inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy is psoriatic arthritis. This is a kind of skin infection or skin disease which leads to the inflammation of the ligaments in the areas like knees or elbows. The skin disease brings with it the traits inflammatory arthritis where the joints are swollen up and creates pain.
- Entheropathic arthritis is caused due to crohn’s disease. The Crohn’s disease is a kind of disease which leads to the inflammation of the lining of the stomach and other digestive organs and cause pain in the stomach, indigestion, diarrhea and also results in the patient losing weight. Along with this disease which is found to be affecting at least 20% of the population the symptoms of the inflammatory arthritis is noticed also causing pain and swelling in the joints.
- Ankylosing spondylitis may cause inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy.3 This is a type of spondylitis affecting the vertebral column of people usually young men. The swelling of the ligaments joining the vertebras causes severe back pain.
Other causes of inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy are sudden injuries like twisting of a foot or a wrong stretching posture or some kind of accident. Certain causes related to sports injuries like the tennis elbow, shin splints, runner’s knee, rotator cuff syndrome (where you find it difficult and painful to rotate the wrists of your hands) also causes Enthesopathy. Certain kinds of allergies like allergy towards gluten food products can also cause inflammation of the ligaments. Also if a person is indulged in doing a certain kind of strict movement daily for a long period of time, the ligaments at the joints of his bones especially the knees or the elbows or the neck could swell up and give him or her pain.
Signs and Symptoms of Inflammation of Ligaments or Enthesopathy
The signs and symptoms of inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy are very common and easily identifiable.
- Swelling in the joints or soreness at various places of the body is the primary symptom of inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy.
- Severe pain in the joints
- Pains in the elbows, back, knees and ankles
- Stomach pains
- Not being comfortable while walking or moving a certain part of the body
- Stiffness at a joint on the body
- Frozen shoulder or difficulty in moving the neck
If the symptoms of inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy are ignored then the disease shall spread in you and will become chronic which will be very difficult to cure then. Often people take medicines like strong killers to keep working and neglect the pain which will only deteriorate the health situation.
When such a situation occur, the person starts lagging in his or her work. Due to the pain and stiffness it becomes difficult for him or her to carry out her daily works. Then the person starts lagging behind in the work and can often miss out on opportunities. The pain can be severe enough to make the patient stay at home always and disturb his or her social life. He or she can even kind it embarrassing to walk or move awkwardly in front of people due to the soreness.
Tests to Diagnose Inflammation of Ligaments or Enthesopathy
There is a clear process of diagnosis to check if the patient is suffering from inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy:
- First of all you need to submit the medical history to your doctor
- Next comes the physical test which will help the doctor to vaguely diagnose the swelling and the reason for the pain
- Then several blood tests are done to find out the complete blood count, the sedimentation rate of the erythrocyte, the joint fluid analysis for inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy.
- Also imaging of the bones are to be taken into count. Thus the patient has to get the X-ray done, the MRI done and also there will be a test on the uric acid level
Other tests for inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy include the testing of the C-reactive protein, whether there is a rheumatoid factor working in the patient, the tests for the anti-nuclear antibody and the if the human leukocyte antigen B27 is found in the patient.
Treatment for Inflammation of Ligaments or Enthesopathy
The treatment for inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy is done depending on the stage of the illness the patient is suffering from and also the type of the illness. There are various ways of treating the patient and whether the patient’s illness has developed from an injury or a disease is to be identified first and is the most important step to proceed further for the treatment.
- Often medicines to bring down the pain is suggested by the doctors. Along with them also medicines to bring down the soreness are prescribed. These drugs are never steroidal in nature.
- In the pain and the soreness is heightened then the medicines containing the corticosteroids or acetaminophen are pushed into the patient’s body in the form of the injections.
- On severe cases surgery is suggested for inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy by the doctor. The Orthopaedic surgery , the neurosurgery or the spine surgery is undergone by the patient if the illness is severe.
- Regular exercise and other forms of physical therapies are also to be done by the patient so that he or she will be able to move the affected bones normally again. Other treatments like mild body therapies, herbal therapy or acupuncture can cure the patient of inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy.
Home Remedies for Inflammation of Ligaments or Enthesopathy
Below mentioned are some of the home remedies for inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy:
- Whenever you notice a swelling or a pain in the joints due to inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy, apply ice immediately.
- If there is a chronic pain in any of the joints, the best home remedy is to apply heat on the spot daily for some time. Placing your ankle on the hot water bag or sleeping with a hot water bag below the pillow will reduce the pain.
- If you find difficulty in moving any joint like the knee, try to stretch your leg slowly. Never apply too much pressure but try to stretch it daily. Soon the stiffness will be gone or lessened.
- Free hand exercises as a home remedy which is not stressful and light should be done regularly to make the movements of the bones normal again.
Lifestyle Changes for Inflammation of Ligaments or Enthesopathy
The lifestyle changes recommended for inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy include:
- Avoid eating junk food and maintain a healthy diet. Never make a habit of consuming pain killers for inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy.
- Always have a habit of walking daily. Also if it is possible exercise daily. Free hand exercise or yoga is very helpful for the body.
- Always maintain a healthy routine for the day. Eat light and sleep early.
- If you are involved in some kind of work where too much heavy carrying is to be done, then maintain a weight that you shall carry. Monotonous tough exercises can cause ligament injuries.
- A good lifestyle change for inflammation of ligaments or enthesopathy is, if possible go for getting a massage once in a while.
- Try to have a normal and healthy body weight. If you are over-weight then the injuries in the ligaments can occur more often. Then again do not exercise too much to lose your weight as you might injure yourself or fall ill.
- Do not take in too much of alcohol. Limited or no alcohol consumption shall keep you healthy.