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A ligament sprain occurs when its inelastic fibres are stretched through too great a range and tearing of the ligament takes place. It can range from mild (tearing of just a few fibres) to severe (complete rupture of the ligament, leading to joint instability). Mild to moderate sprains are treated conservatively and normally heal after 6 weeks.
Management of ligament sprains includes first aid immediately post-injury (RICE), tissue healing modalities, joint movement to prevent stiffness, massage and muscle strengthening. Complete (severe) ruptures of ligaments may include surgery to repair or reconstruct the ligament.
Compare to muscle strain