Average Healing Times for Common Injuries
Fibrous connective tissues like ligaments and tendons as well as bones, cartilage, and nerves tend to take the longest to heal. Below are the various body parts that take the longest as well as a general time period of what to expect:
- Nerves typically take the longest, healing after 3-4 months.
- Cartilage takes about 12 weeks to heal.
- Ligaments take about 10-12 weeks to heal.
- Bones take about 6-8 weeks to heal on average.
These are, by no means, hard-and-fast rules. Each person’s body will heal differently, and the length of the process will depend on their individual injury and the steps they take to heal, such as seeking physical therapy and resting. Health history and lifestyle can also play a role in healing time.
There are a variety of factors that contribute to the fact that nerves take the longest to heal. For one, there are often multiple compression points in a nerve. Nerve compression syndrome is what occurs when a nerve is squeezed or compacted. The severity and duration of the compression can also impact healing time. When the nerve compression has been going on for a longer period of time, it will take longer for it to reach a point where it functions properly. It can take weeks or even months for the nerve function to return and for blood flow to be restored.
Can Physical Therapy Help Heal Nerve Damage?
Treating compressed nerves can help alleviate and prevent further injuries. Nerve regrowth in the peripheral nervous system depends on the type of injury. Peripheral nerve injuries can be caused by traumatic injuries, infections, and metabolic issues. If you have a compressed nerve, the guided exercises you will receive will help treat nerve injuries, increase muscle strength, and improve flexibility. Before you come in for treatment for nerve damage, it is important to understand what the symptoms are. If you have any uncertainty, the team at ProFysio can help determine the cause of your pain. Some of the symptoms of nerve damage include:
- Numbness, prickling, or tingling in the feet or hands or feet that spreads upward into the legs and arms
- Sharp and throbbing pain
- Sensitivity to touch in the area
- Lack of coordination and falling
- Muscle weakness and reduction in motor nerves
How Do You Heal Damaged Cartilage?
When it comes to cartilage damage, the goal is to regrow the bone tissue underneath because cartilage tissue is not capable of regrowing or healing itself. The most common sites for cartilage injuries are the knees, elbows, wrists, ankles, shoulders, and hip joints. We can help treat all sorts of cartilage damage at our clinic by suggesting exercises that will strengthen the muscles around the damaged area. One of the most common areas where our patients experience cartilage damage is in the knee. These lesions tend to appear as tears or pot holes in the surface of the cartilage. The most common symptom of this damage is swelling around the knee joint. If you are experiencing this, your physical therapist can provide flex and extend exercises that reduce the swelling and other painful symptoms. Doing so will also help restore the mobility of the joint.
Does Physical Therapy Help Torn Ligaments and Tendons?
A tendon is what helps to move the bone or structure, and a ligament is the fibrous connective tissue that attaches bone to bone. Tendons are found throughout the body, from the head and neck all the way down to the feet. The largest tendon is the body is the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone. Along the same lines, ligaments are a series of intertwined cords that bind the bones together. They contain some elastic fibers that allow the joint to move. The ligaments are located around the knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders, and other joints.
If you seek physical therapy for treatment for torn ligaments or tendons, we will prescribe a combination of techniques to relieve pain and improve coordination, strength, and flexibility. We might also suggest treating the injury with heat or cold, or suggest other methods like electrical stimulation, ultrasounds, or a massage.
If you need healing for nerve damage, cartilage, ligaments, or tendons, call us at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online.