Ligaments are there to provide stability to the joints, therefore they have some degree of stretch to them but this only to a certain extent. Movement occurring past the ligaments maximum degree of stretch will result injury. These movements causing injury are usually caused by a traumatic event which results in a tear or what is commonly known as a sprain. The two most common forms for sprain of treatment before the rehabilitation process takes place is stabilization and increasing blood flow into the area of the tear. Stabilization prevents further damage to an overstretched ligament. Increasing blood to a damaged area through manual techniques ensures that healing takes place at faster rate and prevents the formation of scar tissue.
Ligament damage can also occur from repetitive joint movement when muscular protection is reduced as a result from fatigue. This will put excessive stress on the ligaments leading to minor strains. Repeated minor strains will cause scar tissue formation. Scar tissue formation reduces both the strength and mobility (stretch) of these soft tissue structures, which may be felt as a niggle, limit movement, alter normal biomechanics causing faulty movement patterns which all increases the risk for future injury. Treatment for these injuries involves manual soft tissue techniques and joint mobilization or manipulation which is used to break the scar tissue, promote correct healing and fix faulty movement patterns so that the risk for future injury is reduced.