Ligaments are bands of fibrous connective tissue that connect bones to other bones. When a ligament is tight, it may be difficult to move a joint through its entire range of motion and the muscles surrounding the ligaments may hurt. If you experience pain in a ligament after stretching or after an injury, avoid doing anything to loosen the ligament before you see the doctor. You might have a tear or other injury requiring medical treatment. If, however, your ligaments merely feel tight, you may be able to loosen them up.
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen can reduce pain and tightness.
Roll the affected area on a foam roller. Foam rollers are long cylindrical pieces of foam that can safely stretch, exercise and loosen tense muscles. When muscles loosen up, ligaments may also loosen. Place the roller on the floor and then position the affected area on top of the roller. Slowly roll back and forth across the foam roller five to 10 times. You can repeat this exercise several times each day. If you experience pain, tingling or strange sensations while rolling, stop immediately and consult a physician.
Exercise the affected area using low-intensity exercises such as walking or stretching. This increases blood flow and speeds healing time, according to "The Sports Physiotherapist." Additionally, tightness in the ligaments can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle or insufficient exercise, and by keeping your body moving you can reduce ligament tightness.
Massage the muscles surrounding the ligament using myofascial trigger point techniques. Muscles frequently develop small knots or nodules from which tension and pain radiate. Apply pressure using your fingers or a massage cane directly to the area and massage in one direction only. This technique should be painful, but not unbearable. By massaging muscle knots, you can gradually loosen them. This, in turn, can help alleviate ligament tightness and reduce pain.
Things You'll Need
- Sports Injury Bulletin: The Trouble with Sitting
- Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology; Gerald Audesirk et al.
- The Sports Physiotherapist: RICE or MEAT Protocol for Acute Ligament Sprain Treatment
- Myofascial Trigger Points; Jan Dommerholt
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.