ZocdocAnswersCan ankle ligaments grow back?

Question

Can ankle ligaments grow back?

I tore my ankle ligament 9 years ago. It doesn't even show up on an MRI because it's pretty much gone. If I keep the ankle in a brace is there any chance the ligament will grow back?

Answer

I'm sorry to hear about this accident! Unfortunately, ligaments have a very limited capacity for regeneration, so it's important to discuss this issue with your orthopedic doctor. This is mostly because they have very limited blood supply and are under an incredible amount of dynamic tension from regular body movements. Many complete ligament tears will never heal completely. Therefore, since you have had this injury now for 9 years, I think it is very unlikely that there will be any additional spontaneous healing. This does not mean that a brace may not be without benefit, especially if it stabilizes the joint and relieves discomfort. I would strongly suggest discussing this issue with your orthopedic doctor if you have not done so already. Some serious long standing ligament injuries are amenable to surgical correction. This depends a lot on where exactly the injury is, how serious it was, and how functionally limited by the injury you are currently. For example, professional athletes often pursue surgical repairs because they are limited by injuries that those of us who are less active can tolerate just fine on a daily basis. Your orthopedic doctor will be able to help you review your options and decide whether a surgical procedure would be of any benefit to you. Good luck!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.